I enrolled at MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art & Design) in the Fall of 2001 after spending a summer in Tahoe with my Dad. I thought I belonged in art school, and MCAD was highly rated - plus my girlfriend was attending a college in the next town.
On my first day back in town, she broke up with me (of course). I was destroyed and my life really felt like it came unhinged. Somehow art school didn't seem as important.
Shortly after moving into the dorms, my car broke down. I was given an old lugged aluminum Trek road bike to get around on, and I instantly fell in love with riding. I used the bike as a funnel for my emotions, and would often ride until I collapsed. I was never really training, but channeling all my anger into hard riding was making me strong really quickly. I rode straight through the frigid Minnesota winter and by the time Spring semester rolled around, I was on my bike more than I was attending class. Eventually I dropped out of school, having come down with a serious case of the bike racing bug.
In 2003 I chased a dream of riding my bike for a living and moved out to California. I lived briefly with my Dad in Truckee, then out of my SAAB for another 6 months. I finally settled down in Santa Rosa (arguably the best roads to train on in the country), and lived in a chicken shack (literally) for a year.
While clicking through an old folder on my computer, I stumbled upon an archive of mini-blogs I wrote while making the transition to a Californian pseudo bike-pro. Those were hard times, but I remember feeling really free.
Today I killed a spider the size of my fist. I disturbed his lair while doing my monthly dishwashing and out crawling he came. The only thing scarier than squashing such a giant spider, is wondering how big the insects must have been that he was eating to grow so big.
This year was my first ever Christmas spent by myself. At first it wasn't a big deal because it didn't feel like a typical holiday season here in Santa Rosa. As there was no snow! After I came upon this notion, a bit of loneliness set in. This depression was multiplied by being sick, spending the 25th in my underwear desperately selling crap on eBay, and only having Easy-Mac and Powerbars to eat for Christmas dinner.
On the positive side, after selling most of my earthly possessions online, I can afford my race uniform for the season. Now I just need someone to buy my road frame so I can pay my rent.
Sorry I have seemed to disappear for so long. Having not posted an update to this website in a week and everyone thinks that I got run over by a car and am lying dead in a ditch.
I have come down with some sort of cold/strep throat type illness. While I don't feel too awful at work or around the house, it absolutely humbles me on my bike. It has become almost impossible to make any hard effort. It all began last Friday with a long climb up Cavesdale. Normally climbing is really effortless for me. However on this particular climb I couldn't get my heart-rate to drop, and I was riding a pace that would normally have me in a recovery zone. I was pushing a 39x29 (cyclocross gearing) and every pedal stroke felt like it was to be my last. I usually would be riding in a 39x23 or 39x21 and still be just fine - something was obviously wrong.
So I decided to take the entire week off, and only ride my bike to work - hoping that whatever sickness I had would pass. However yesterday I went out on another long ride with a large climb, this time the Geysers. I felt like absolute crap from the get-go, but I would give it a try anyways. After all, my riding partner weighed 200 lbs and there was no way a person so heavy could beat me up a climb. After 50ft up the Geysers, he was 30 seconds ahead of me. This time my legs felt even worse. All I could do was watch as this person who weighed 60 lbs more than me rode up the mountain. On gradients where I would normally be riding at 10-12 mph, I never got above 6. I was weaving back and forth all over the road, struggling just to stay upright on my bike. When I finally crested the climb, my riding partner had been waiting for 10 minutes, and I was soaked to bone in sweat. This kinda thing just does not ever happen to me!
Where is my good luck? Why do I only have bad luck?
Why aren't I ever the dude who finds a twenty dollar bill on the sidewalk? Why does the sun, after glowing warm and bright all day long - turn to horrible rain when I get off work early to go for a bike ride? When is it my time to shine?
I get a traffic ticket as I am pulling outside my driveway for not having my seatbelt on. I pay the aforementioned citation through the mail. I receive a last-minute notice stating that I haven't paid, so the ticket has to be paid by credit card over-the-phone and incurs additional fees. However this wasn't enough for the County of Sonoma's traffic division. I received a "courtesy" notice today informing me that I owe another $207 to register my car - which is no longer working.
I am also faced with the dilemma of purchasing a uniform for my bike team. I am required to be outfitted in at least a jersey and shorts - while the whole kit is gonna cost upwards of $300. And I almost though I would be able to afford rent this month.
Hey! Now my car won't fucking start! It's not the battery, not the sparkplugs or distributor, and there is even plenty of fuel in the tank. I am sure it is something a thousand times more expensive to fix.
I have no money, I don't know anyone, my fucking heater still doesn't work, my apartment is a shithole, and it has been raining around the clock for the last three weeks.
Life sucks, but it gives me anger to train even harder.
Hey I got a fitness letter answered over at Cyclingnews.com. It is a pretty wacky question, but go check it out. Form & Fitness Q&A
My Niterider adapter finally appeared in the mail. I can start my road rides at midnight now. Yah! Here is another picture of me from my "gay dude" sings Cher song commercial.
Random sentence! I got pulled over by a cop right outside my driveway for not wearing my seatbelt. Yah! $50 dollar ticket! Yah! Fuck the Santa Rosa police department in the ass! The pilot-lite on my heater won't stay lit. Yah! I can see my breath inside my house! Ants have taken over my bedroom! They're in my bed! One crawled into mouth last night! Fuck Yah!
Death just isn't coming fast enough.
I am eating brownies right now that were dropped off on my doorstep by my landlord. He is constantly visiting and giving me apples, bananas and other such fruit. It is kinda like the "Witch" who gives "Snow White" a poisoned apple. Only I haven't gotten poisoned yet, my landlord is an old dude and he is a hundred times crazier than the "Witch."
Although he might just be scheming to get me to let my guard down while he gives me an irresistible, albeit poison riddled, brownie. So if I die in my sleep tonight...
About 5 miles into my ride today I got a flat rear tire from a piece of glass. Why the hell are there so many broken bottles on the side of the road? Everyday that I am able to ride out of Santa Rosa and into the countryside without a puncture is a goddamn miracle.
I went 4000 miles this year without a single flat tire. I rode through every kind of shit imaginable and not a single piece of it penetrated my tires. There where times during races when jerks up at the front of the pack would neglect to call out huge potholes. With no time or room to dodge the road craters, the middle of the peleton would be forced go right over them. Riders all around me would be getting pinch flats from the impacts, yet I always emerged tires unharmed.
About halfway through the season I got my first flat. This was to be the beginning of the end. From then on, almost every time I rode my bike more than 20 miles, I punctured. Even my bulletproof "Ruffy Tuffy" tires from Rivendell have been popping.
Why doesn't all liquor come in cans or plastic bottles so drunks can't make such a hazardous mess?
It was great to finally have an agro, hill climb workout today. I have been looking forward to this all week. There is a really steep long climb a few miles away from my house that has me tasting blood in the back of my throat by the time I crest the top. When rode on a fixed-gear, it is perfect for building leg muscle.
Riding home after this brief but very tiring workout, I managed to pickup a screw in my rear tire. Two seconds after it popped my tube, my whole tire exploded in a mess of rubber and cotton strands. MOTHER FUCKING SHIT!
I ended up walking home through my dirty ghetto neighborhood. Every homeless person and Mexican mariachi player staring at me like I'm a fucking alien. Meanwhile it is OK for them to be passed out on park benches, begging for money, pushing around shopping carts full or garbage, talking to themselves, or walking around dressed like it is the year 1850 on a tobacco ranch in Mexico.
I wish I was more violently inclined so I could have the balls to curb the next drunk crack-addict asking me for money. No one would miss him.
I spilled a cereal bowl all over my open laptop. Sludgy generic raisin-bran seeped into all nooks and under my keyboard. I had to dismantle the laptop casing (not recommended) to remove the keyboard. So now there is a big hole in my computer and I am typing with an external keyboard. Which is actually easier to type with than the tiny laptop's. However it was the cheapest one available, so the keys are kinda insensitive. Some keys act like they needed to be hit with a hammer or leaned into to register. This becomes a pain-in-the-ass when playing games where moving your character forward requires holding down the "W" key. (ala Enemy Territory) To many times have I been running away from a grenade or some Nazi's MP40 to be stopped in mid-dash because I wasn't putting all my weight into a particular key. Boo hoo.
Why is it that one of the only ways that a young chap such as myself can begin to achieve some separation or freedom from my parents, is through a car. It is fucking strange, as well fucking pathetic.
For the past 10 or so years I have lived in a household of dictatorship rule. My fuck-stick stepfather is a total control freak and one major asshole. Over the years he has tried his best to keep his thumb up my butt, but thankfully my sphincter is made of stronger stuff. That is why my Minnesota parents hate me so much, because I refuse to follow their goofy rules. They did not parent, they punished; they did not reason, they acted without concern. I will laugh the jolliest laugh and out-jig a leprechaun on the day they die.
Unfortunately, over the past ten years I had grown used to being shit on and ordered around. I am perfectly aware of what a healthy family should be, but it is very difficult to just shake ten bad years away. My very own automobile now offers me complete freedom, I can go any where I want, if need be I can sleep in it, and it should take me wherever I want to go. I am having trouble adjusting to that fact. I did not realize that this would ever be a factor of a car.