Saturday, December 31, 2005

Breaking Stuff

I hate breaking stuff. I can't afford it. I spend enough money on brake pads, water bottles, cables, cleats, chain lube, and all that crap as it is. You know what sucks the most? Breaking wheels. Wheels aint cheap. Long story short, today I ripped the threads off my grass-track hub and totaled the thing, but I'm not even pissed.

Here's the long story long.

Grass track consists of a bunch of track racers who all get together on Saturdays to beat up on each other, improve handling skills and get a good workout. Standard equipment is 1 crappy bicycle (fixed gear, no brakes, drop bars and cross tires) 1 semi-smooth grass surface (soccer field, football field, etc.) 10 cones to mark the short 100m track, and a good rain jacket. Racing consists of kierins, scratch races, match sprints, drag races, madisons and such. Skills excercises are Gauntlets. Everyone rides together in a mini group, one person starts at the back and must make it to the front by going up the center of the group (who does not allow the rider to advance). All contact is legal. It's always rainy, so the surface is always soft with mud and grass, so crashing isn't a big deal. Points are awarded for ultraviolent maneuvers and killer saves. It's a good time.


During the last set of drag races this morning, I was 20 meters from the line, I wasn't gaining on Stephen fast enough and I thought to myself "oh shit, I'm gonna loose." This is where I gave it the hardest final kick ever and SNNAP!! no more resistance in the pedals, I fly forward and nearly take my wisdom teeth out with my stem. Managed not to crash, rolled to a stop, checked out the hub and started my victory dance... YES! That's right. Tore the threads apart. Granted it's the crappiest, cheapest hub Suzue makes (how strong can a 30 dollar hub be?) but it still kicks ass.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Rib-Eye Killer

Christmas is a big deal around here, so I don't joke around when it comes to my pre-christmas preparations.

Everyone knows the importance of hydration, so in the days leading up to christmas I make sure to take in plenty of fluids. Fortunately coffee and beer are mostly made of water, so I don't actually have to change much in my daily routine in order to achieve this.
Despite the fact that I'm a sprinter, I'm not interested in becoming a big usesless overweight sprinter, so I go for a flat couple of hours on the bike path. You know, for the calories. Then it's up to the parents' house for food, a South Park holiday marathon and presents. Riding kilos has taught me the value of a good warm-up, so I hopped on the couch, turned on some bad christmas movie and got started off with 10 or 12 cookies, a pile of christmas fudge and a few drinks. This is where my dad discovers that it takes more than an hour to cook a 90 pound steak, so dinner gets a rain delay, and I get more cookies. Jump forward to the main event and it's a glorious occasion. I start off easy (as I usually do) with some baked potato and a little salad, and then wind it up to a big finish with so much steak I think I sprained my stomach. Good thing I did that spin yesterday.

Three words: Bacon, biscuits, gravy. Real gravy too, not that lame stuff that comes in a bag. Add more coffee to the recipe and you get a morning of goodness, followed by a whole day of stocking-stuffer candy. Pure magic.

Pre-Burnaby Predictions:
During the burnaby weekend events in a couple of weeks, 4 people will slide off the track all by themselves and blame thier tires ("those blue ones just don't grip as well..."), Beardsley will do a better kilo than he did at LA (or I'll probably have to punch him in the face) I will win the sprints in front of some other endurance guy who will show up and smoke all the other sprinters "just for training," Keith Bruneau will ride okay then go so hard he rips his cranks off in the olympic sprint and Dave will surprise everyone by winning the madison by himself after doing 3 months of secret roller workouts out of sheer boredom (no more kiwis in the house).

SO. Coming soon: THE BURNABY REPORT (or How I Saved Dave's Life and Crashed A Canadian With Mind Power)

Thursday, December 15, 2005


And you can file that one under BOO-YA.

Seriously. You can.

Friday, December 09, 2005

End of an era?

So the team's budget has tripled in the last couple of days. Apparently Orange is a cool color to be in, because a few companies seem to really dig us.

Here's why this is good and bad.

It's good because we'll get to travel more, and it will lighten the financial burden of said travel on us young impoverished athletes. This new situation forces us into one of responsibility for our results. We can't just write off a race if we're not having fun anymore because we know that at the end of the day, these companies don't want to pay for a loosing team. Therefore, we're gonna go harder and get faster (or else).

It sucks because of everything I said above. We're gonna have to act like professionals in public now, and that's no fun. We're not an overly adult group (despite what our ages might say). We like being loud, obnoxious retards, and we still will be, but now we have to make sure we're not wearing team stuff, and we have to make sure we're not acting like idiots in front of the wrong people (which could be anyone). See the dilemna? Results and pressure are good, but they can bring you down hard if you're not carefull and realistic.

Yin and Yang, bla bla bla. Good and bad, I know. It's still a little intimidating, but hey, I'm into it.

Guess I'll have to start training one of these days, eh?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Scott Allen recovery update

For those of you who didn't know, Scotty ran into some medical issues a few weeks ago and had to be hospitalized. This isn't the first time Scott has had to hit the white sheets, but he's built tough, so he's coming back. This time he's pledged to get off the streets and stop slinging crack, he even plans to put out a record with Dre. We all wish him luck.

Scotty fresh out of the hospital

Monday, November 28, 2005


Anybody see the pics of the Sydney Thousand? Anybody else wondering what is on Rene Wolf's face? I know he's german and "euro" and all that, but it looks like he took one chin first into Ryan Bayley's significant posterior.


Sunday, November 27, 2005

burrito as a metaphor for life

'tis the season for life-affirming quotes, so here's my favorite. For those of you who aren't yet die-hard fans of TooVanillaForYou dot blogspot dot com:

Chestre Concordia said...
True story.
Think of it this way. There are two ends of every burrito, and even if you prefer one end, you'll still have to eat the other one sooner or later...

Really makes you think doesn't it? If it doesn't make you think, you are either really good at math and not very hungry, or you don't have as much time on your hands as some other people...

Saturday, November 26, 2005


On the way to turkey dinner #3. or 4. not sure.

YES as the previous post implied I am in the CIA now, I'm a special agent in charge of going to foriegn countries and blowing shit up, they just don't know it yet. Nothing to do with the slow winter months, no more bke racing till spring and Anatomy and Physiology completely smashing my brains out. Yeah. It sucks.

GRASSTRACK. grasstrack is probably the coolest thing since those twisty caps on beer bottles. i think my helmet is 4 sizes bigger since I tried to headbutt my way through Abers' chest this morning. rock n roll.

More later, if anyone still reads this thing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Monday, October 24, 2005

Death Ray

Friday, October 14, 2005


We Want To EAT YOU.

movie of the week. rent it, netflix it, do whatever you do.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

We saw this dude at some real serious Italian parade. He didn�t seem to know anybody and was rarely playing his trumpet but the verdict was: This stumbling little Chinese Jerry Lewis with the ridiculous facial gestures is the whole reason we hate normal people.
 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

In LA...

...I ate (on average) 2 burgers per day.

...I almost got hit by at least four cars per day (driving or riding).

...I decided that Portland NEEDS an indoor board track. NEEDS. This is not negotiable. It's the biggest load of crap that this amazing facility is located in LA. Come on. It never rains there. We need it way more, and we could get ass-loads of spectators to come out to races ("beer available!"), unlike the ADT center. Seriously, in a city of 4 million I expected more than 15 people to show up to watch the national championships.

...I decided to never move to LA.

...I rode the coolest track. ADT doesn't seem to be a world-class venue based on times on paper, but it feels like THE SHIT. It feels rediculously fast and automatically turns you into The Man.

...I drove through Compton (because the track is about 5 blocks away). Yeah, it really does suck there. No wonder Tupac was so pissed off.

... I posted a bunch of PRs but still wasn't super psyched with my times. Hopefully nationals will be in LA again next year so i can see what I can do after a season of track training.

...I got a bronze (kilo) and a fourth place medal (team sprint). They both look bronze.

... I Barely beat Steven Beardsley, who before nationals had the annoying habit of beating me in every kilo we did. Secretly, I filled his tires with cement, but don't tell him.

...I lost again to McLaughrey. Did a 11.5 at Victoria (outdoor concrete) a year ago, so the 11.6 wasn't what I was looking for, but oh well. I qualified. Last.

...I watched a lot of daytime TV. That whole in between session break can get crazy long, and Judge Judy doesn't help much.

More later. Maybe.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

So that was lame...

Seems like the habit of posting every couple of days has meant I'm posting more useless crap these days. Problem is, I tend to get pissed off about things, react to them and post them for the whole world to see. Not a great way to make friends, I know. So maybe once a month then, if that. This blog was created so friends and family could keep track of me as I travel around, not to be my personal gossip column, which it's steadily becoming.

Just one thing however. When I get pissed off and react to some action or something someone says, I usually write about it here. My name is on this site. People know who I am. I'm not trying to hide my identity under some loser "anonymous" tag. I love hearing different opinions (whether I agree with them or not), but the rash of anonymous comments I've been getting recently aren't even worth responding to, because the person writing isn't taking any responsibility for what they're saying, and chances are great that they'd never say anything similar in person. That's sad, and I just can't take it seriously. That's the thing I hate about the internet, when it becomes some faceless mud-slinging venue. I don't want my blog to be one of those. I'll make changes to it to avoid that if neccessary, but I would hope that people can be civil on thier own. That's my rant for the day.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Sprint Night and a Throwdown in the Dirty 'Couve

I finally got around to attending an actual match sprint night last week now that it's almost the end of the season. It was pretty rock. Walker showed up as well to fly the flag of endurance, and things got interesting right away. First round was an all-Rubicon battle with Walker and I both looking to advance into the next round. I jumped him when he wasn't looking from a lap and a half out, led out a damn long sprint and almost got beat on the line. Honestly, he came at me so fast in the last 5 pedalstrokes that I thought I was doomed for sure... It looked to be a long night.

One of the semis ended up being Mclaughery vs. Zac Copeland. That was quite the event. McLaughery tried to do the old 200m afterburner trick, but Copeland fought the power well and ended up riding Stephen all over the track, up to the rail, back to the apron, back up to the rail, around the block a few times and by the time they made it back to the finish, Zac barely held on for the win. Dude's got skills.

So the final was old school dude vs. young dude trained by old school dudes. ROCK. I've been waiting to race this cat for months and I certainly wasn't dissapointed. I pulled first, sat up on the backside and took a hard right turn uptrack right into his burly little frame to show him that I was up for any shenanigans he could throw at me. I turned so hard that just about anyone outside of Brian Abers would have had a few fillings knocked out, but Zac just flicked away and smiled at me. This guy sprints the best way; he's got a huge bag of tricks and he can use any of them. I knew this well enough to jump him long as soon as he gave me a little room, so I did with a lap to go, and made it stick. Wicked. I'll definitely have to rock a few more sprint nights before they're over this year...


Now that's a cool course. About a billion corners per lap, a little uphill drag that wrecks some people's rhythem and a super-short finish straight make for a killer course. Too bad only 30 or 40 people showed up for the 1/2s. The complete lack of prize money may have something to do with that... (Windows XP upgrade for Windows 95? What am I supposed to do with that? Can I buy food with it?) Anyway, it was a rough day for Orange to say the least. Not 20 laps into the race we're coming around a fast, downhill corner and SCCRRRASH Aaron goes down. Dammit. That looked like it hurt. A small group takes off just after that crisis, and fortunately Walker the Stalker's in it, so I can relax and follow counter-moves. However. Not 5 laps after Tuckie tastes asphalt, Scotty's sliding across the street in the SAME CORNER. What the f@#$! WTF! Seriously... this corner is eating our team alive.

Laps go by, the group laps the field with maybe 8 to go and Curry and I drift back to drag Walker up to the front of the field. We get separated somehow and end up with Adam and Walker cruising up through the inside, while I'm on the outside, just as Walker gets pinched, hits the deck and goes skidding across the pavement. Dammit. He gets back in, Scotty and I go to the front thinking everything is sweet, Scotty rips it up with 2 to go, I nail it on the front with a lap to go, pull off and see Walker right on Mikel, and everything looks good. Bummer thing is, because it was inside the last 8 laps, they didn't give Grunter the free lap, so he gets 6th instead of 1st or 2nd. Drag.

Before the race, Norrene told us how there were tons of sponsors at the race, so we shouldn't crash.... COINCIDENCE? probably not. DT

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Remember the Minutemen? Those backwater hicks from Texas and New Mexico taking it upon themselves to protect America from those dastardly Latinos? Well. This is them. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Functioning Memeber of Society...


I've been blissfully unemployed for over a year now, and I'm afraid to go back. But rent in that apartment next month won't pay itself, so it looks like the days of sleeping late and doing nothing but riding are coming to a close. Now I'll have to sleep late go to school, go to work, ride my bike and THEN do nothing. Drag.

So if you need some kind of wonderful Trek product in the next few months, drop by Hollywood Bike Gallery and say 'hey.' Or 'hi' or whatever.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Apparently, in Boise Idaho, jumping from a tall stairway railing into the deep end of a pool can land you in jail.

But before I get to that, one gut point goes to Scotty for racing on a "maybe broken" hand. After pulling some intense, military-style manuevers in a friend's front yard, one of Scott's hands is now considerably bigger than the other one. It's just not right. Like if someone put breast implants in his palm and covered it all in bad mascara. Why anyone would do that is beyond me, but whatever the case, it's big, it's ugly and apparently it hurts. Trick is, he can't go to the doctor unless it's broken FOR SURE. And maybe it's not that bad...

By the way, Boise is a long damn way to go for a crit. There, I said it. Granted you can win big money if you have a great day, but if you don't then you're still 7 hours from home and down a hundred bucks or so. Which sucks.

So the pool thing. I didn't know it was illegal. I knew it was dangerous, but nearly everything worth doing in life is risky or dangerous in some way. And honestly, who puts stairs and a securely welded, iron railing with a level section about 6 feet above and 2 feet away from the deep end of a hotel swimming pool? Obviously people who want you to enjoy life, that's who. For some reason the current hotel proprietor doen't have any zest for living, because after Tuckerman and I had taken a few test jumps ('safety first' may not apply all the time, but 'safety at some point' sounds reasonable enough) before the backflips started, he comes barreling out of his fake-plant infested, badly wallpapered, heavily brochured front office just about to have a coronary.

This is where we try not to loose it, dont laugh dont laugh....
Okay wait. Obviously this guys a touch sensitive but wait. wait. If the kid was jumping of the roof of this two story building, that's a 20 foot drop and a good 8 feet laterally from the pool. Pretty safe to say that this kid was never destined to make it far in life. If he didn't have a real, actual death wish, his life span must have been shortened by genetics and a complete lack of judgement. Ever heard of the Darwin awards? To try this jump, he would easily be an honorable mention. Second of all. To hit the fence he would have had to jump out towards the pool, change direction in midair and go backwards a good 6 feet to get to the fence which is underneath the second floor walkway, or he would have had to sail a good 40 feet all the way to the other side of the enclosure... both of which are possible... if you are a bird...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

PORTLAND AVC parts 1 and 3

For real this time.

SO the AVC didn't go as planned.

I didn't race very well, I wasn't really into it all that much and I didn't make much cash... That being said, it was fun.

But I keep doing them nonetheless. This is what happens when people tell you that you're really good at something, even if you don't like it that much. Once again I rode a spectacular first 3 laps and a gawdawful last half lap to finish somewhere mid group. I've since retired from the kilo forever and ever, but I'll probably come out of retirement for Nationals just for kicks...

SO my sprints this weekend were nothing spectatular (except for one wicked near-crash with Carl Boucher), but the final Repechage round was interesting. First off, let me say that the descision to run the sprints as 3 and 4 ups bummed me out. The descision was made most likely in respect to timing issues (meaning, the officials didn't want to sit there all night and run a million sprints... whatever, I probably wouldn't either), but as a racer, it's a drag. Sprints at World Cups and Nationals are all one on one, which makes for better spectating and better racing (I think), but either way, they're not here.

Long story short, the final rep ride is 4 people, as it usually is, but two of which are riders on the same team. One dude lives here, and one was paid cash money to come here and race in this team's kit for a few days instead of his national team garb. So the local boy attacks on the first lap and his rent-a-teamate goes to the front and sits there, allowing the local guy to walk into the finals without the slightest challenge. Say what you want about the responsibility of the chase going to the other two riders, but I wouldn't want to drag an Olympian to the line to let him outsprint me for the one final rep spot either. Every person I talked to who saw it happen said the same thing: It was a cheap way to win, and a bit of a bummer to watch. The huge victory celebration was particularly grating to some people, so when the rider finished last in the final, it was agreed that it would have been nice to see one of the faster riders in the final.

What more can I say.

There was more bumping, hooking, crashing and general madness in this year's AVC kierin that any other event that I've been a part of. Except for maybe last year when the motor ran out of gas in mid-race and Josh Kerkof nearly dove straight onto Mike Murray's back. That was funny. Anyway. Big time craziness in this year's edition, and it was so fun that I wasn't even all that bummed that I missed the final by about a tire's width. Favorite moment was easily from the final, when Josiah NG (crazy-fast Malaysian kierin specialist) is on the motor, starts leading it out at Warp 3 and Stephen Alfred decides that he's not going to take it anymore, blows everybody a kiss goodbye and crushes everyone in his path. It was impressive. He came from the back, halfway up the track and blew by everybody like they were standing still. Revenge is sweet...

You'd think the guy would be tired from such an effort, but hell no. As the evening comes to a close, he hauls off and demolished the flying lap record set a few years ago by Jeff "Iron Chef" Labauve. Every person in the packed stands was absolutely loosing thier mind the whole time, and barely got a break before Jenny Reid powered out a record time for the women's side. Unbefreakinleivable. The way everybody was loosing it you'd think the Cubs were winning the World Series the day after aliens had landed and declared president Bush "Idiot of the Universe"... It was intense...

Portland AVC

Coming soon... really.... I promise....

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

"Cyclist dies in crash at end of Portland race"


PORTLAND, Ore. - A cyclist died when he crashed headfirst near the finish line during a road race at Portland International Raceway on Tuesday night.

The 29-year-old cyclist from Milwaukie, whose name was withheld pending family notification, was 300 yards from finishing the 40-mile race when he lost control of his bike, said Lt. Allen Oswalt, a spokesman for Portland Fire and Rescue.

The cyclist slammed headfirst into a steel post filled with concrete.

“He was wearing a helmet, but it didn’t do much at 30 mph,” Oswalt said.

Oswalt said the cyclist suffered “huge head trauma” and died at the scene.

Race organizer Jeff Mitchem said the cyclist, who had several years of racing experience, was in a pack sprinting toward the finish line when he tried to pass on a straightaway and veered off course.

“As soon as he hit it, the sound was such that we knew it was serious,” said Mitchem, who also participated in the race sanctioned by the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association.

Portland International Raceway is designed for auto racing, and the cyclist hit a support for a fence that keeps cars from the crowd, Mitchem said.

Mitchem said medical personnel treated the cyclist within seconds, but there was no chance to save him.

© 2005 The Associated Press.

Monday, July 11, 2005

No Bank, But Hey...

I've figured a few things out in these days of stupid heat, pro envy and killer crits. Sticking around local races can get your confidence up and is good for morale, but big races like this put the big picture in perspective. It's safe to say that I'm in a pretty small group of top sprinters (road and track) in the Portland area, but thrown into a big-time race like this I fall into a big group of average joes who fight just to finish, let alone go for any placings or money.

Seems the biggest struggle so far has been with failure to commit to anything (university, racing, career). I'm not getting to where I want to be in cycling by continuing on the present course. SO. It's time to go. Time to do it. Give it a go. I'm not giving up on the rest of my life, just scaling a few things back. Take fewer classes for a couple years, concentrate on training in the winter instead of trying to juggle 3 ambitions at once. As for the rest of the season, I may not be winning any pro events, but a nice new jersey from track nationals would be a great motivator... DT

Superweek, Airline Sardines, Pimp Glasses and the Jase Chase

So I'm signing in at one of those snazzy new "self-service" kiosks at PDX and a little screen pops up to ask me if I want to upgrade to "economy plus" for an extra 25 bucks. This is where the next 6 hours goes very wrong. I know th eextra 25 bucks will buy me legroom, wider seats and maybe a night's rest, but no. I'm poor. I'll be fine.

Then as the clock struck 11:30pm I squeezed in between two 300 pound sacks of body odor and hair for a less than restfull night.

"It's okay" I think. "I'll just crank up the A/C and get some shut eye."
You know how on most planes you reach up and twist the little ventilation nipple above your head and that cool, dry air rushes out? Not today. When the head stewardess came by to inform us that the AC wasn't working properly, but we should be 5 minutes ahead of schedule, I died a little inside. There I sat in a pool of sweat, 90 degrees, pressed on both sides by hairy, sweaty flesh, knees pressed up into my chest, staring straight ahead watching some awful Lindsay Lohan movie and some bad sitcom reruns with no volume, for four hours.

Enough whining. On to Chicago.
Scotty and I arrive around 4:57am. We have 36 hours to race time. Damn it's early after a sleepless night. Mikkel picks us up at the airport, we chuck the bikes into the van and off we go to nowhere in particular. We have all of Friday. "Should we find a motel and crash? Go to the course? Get some food?"
"Downtown" I say. "Just head straight for those buildings."

Chicago is a big place. It's real big. The Portland skyline wouldn't make it halfway up to the top of the buildings here. Looking up at the Smith Tower and all the enormous skyscrapers downtown is like driving around through a canyon all concrete and glass. And holy crap is it dirty. Trash everywhere. And it's big, by the way. We have a day to kill, so we decide to kill it wandering around town. We bludgeon time shopping for things we'd never buy, we sit in cafes sipping water, and search for the Ultimate Pimp Glasses. These glasses will be huge, gaudy, and the number one secret to surviving the week. Hours go by and finally, there they are.
They're big, they're white, they're extreme, and they are 16 dollars. They make Scotty into some kind of alien rock star, sitting in a lawn chair in the back of a seatless van, packed with bikes and wheels.

Driving down some random city road at one point, imagine my surprise to see a beach covered in bikinis and swimmers. Awesome. That is one big lake.

So after a day of cruising, we retired to a South Chicago Super 8 motel and rocked out to Beverly for the first stage. Damn it sucked. We're talking a one mile circuit through a very old, leafy neighborhood. Packed into the circuit are about eight hundred and ten corners and a crappy false flat/hill. After about 10 of 60 laps I end up watching from the sidelines as Scotty's brother Big Jase racks up a cool grand int field primes. Some Aussie guy wins.

We are the only white people in South Chicago. Just thought I should add that.
The second day's crit is a good 4 hours north of Chicago, so it's back into the van and back out on the road to Menasha, Wisconsin. This one starts out much better as I dive-bomb through the first hairpin leading the field, then spend the rest of the race fighting to avoid getting dropped. 40 laps later I have a heart-attack on the bike and loose my grip on the field, doomed to watch again. Some other Aussie guy wins and Scott rides like a man and ends up around 30th or so, gets some cash and we get on our way.

Another tough day for me, another couple dead presidents for Scotty. We're back at the host house a half-hour west of Milwaukie, and tommorow's a day off. DT

Friday, June 24, 2005

An Open Letter To...

... To the guy riding his "chopper" up and down main street today:
What is your deal? Are you socially retarded, or do you really believe that beautiful women will hear the ear-splitting howl of your whatever cubic-inch engine and throw themselves at you, frothing with desire? Do you think this makes you cool like the guys from Easy Rider? You're not cruising down some lonely highway, enjoying the freedom of the road and the air on your receding hairline, you're blasting up the street, turning around, blasting back up the street, turning around, and doing it all over again. Over and over. Back and forth. The best part? You're wearing EAR PLUGS! WHAT?!!?! Are you for real? I mean, yeah it makes sense, because you're grenading around on the loudest bike on the planet, but that's what mufflers are for. If you're concerned about your own hearing but not about my eardrums bursting every time you rip by, then you are a serious dick.
Is this what a midlife crisis looks like in the era of Orange Country Choppers and that Biker Build-Off show? I thought you guys just buy Camaros and cruise around past High Schools looking awesome? Good job Discovery Channel, way to wreck my eardrums.

...To the guy walking down main street with a ten foot surfboard:
You are so my favorite person right now. This is either a righteous fashion statement saying "yeah, I don't give a rat's ass that I'm on a mountain 2,000 miles from the ocean, I've got seawater in my veins and this is my magic carpet," or this guy's a stoner who found the thing in his brother's basement and just had the amazing idea of chopping the fin off, strapping his feet to it and hurtling down a mountain. Like SURFING ON SNOW. It's stoner ingenuity at it's finest and he'd probably make a fortune if some other cat hadn't had the same brilliant idea like 20 years ago.

...To Chuck Palahniuk:
Haunted's a wicked book. One of your finest. Good work.

...To USA Cycling:
Maybe somewhere at sea level next year? That'd be cool. DT

Park City I Hate You

and your little dog too...

That crit was tough like bark and crazy like the Jacksons. Good lawd that sucked the big one from the very first lap. Last year the course was flat, huge and dangerous. This year it was hilly, huge and dangerous. I thought it would be sweet because it was in the same area, but they basically took last year's 3 corner course and moved it halfway up a mountainside. Just look at the numbers: 120 starters, 15 finishers. The top ten was almost a carbon copy of last years road race. Skinny little dudes who normally hate crits were the only ones that made it past the first half. Of the 15 that finished, probably 13 were pros.

It was hurt city: population me.

Anyway. Walker grunted it out for an hour before loosing it, the 12 TIAA CREF dudes controlled the day's events and Tyler Farrar almost jumped off his bike and strangled half the aforementioned team. Seriously, they played him like a fiddle. He missed the two man break of the day, and everytime he'd make a move there would be 4 powder blue jerseys on his ass refusing to do squat. Sucks to be him, and it's a bit of a negative way to race, but big farrRRAAAR was the strongest unit in the race, so they weren't about to hand him any favors. I wouldn't pull him around either...

Next up... the long drive home, some big training, then off to Stuipidweek.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Ballard...and Days 1 through 4 of the Six

Here's Ballard:
Four corners, drenched in rain, ice-like bricks in one corner, dry slicks on my wheels and 80 people who all want thier chunk of a few grand in prize money. BANG the gun goes and I'm third into the first corner, which is a damn good thing because all around me is CHAOS. Guys are hitting the deck like nobody's business, easy corners are becoming completely impossible, every single corner in the first five laps claims skin and carbon.
Aaron jams it at the front and escapes with a few punks. I have lost vision and most motor control trying to stay on Kenny "G Money J Lo" Willians and Russel "I Hate You" Stevensen. These jerks are on the edge of control and pushing me way past my max effort, so I blow to pieces and curse the name of Ballard and the Seattle metro maybe 20 minutes into the race.

Aaron ends up crashing cause he's a f$@king mountain biker, but he still laps the field which is pretty heavy. He gets a gut point for that one. Maybe.
Scotty survives by utilizing the brilliant strategy of being behind every single crash and sprinting to get back up to the dwindling field. This may seem impractical, but it works for him.

Meanwhile at the six day, every day is run under threat of heavy rain, 3 days of which rain out completely. Scotty gets one gut point for riding the first 30 minute madison by himself. Walker and I call truce and just follow wheels, but other teams aren't so nice and not nearly as cool, but Scott hangs tough and even scores a point in the final sprint. The following few days are a big ugly battle between the kiwi team of Scotty and Adam and the orange team of yours truly and Walker the Stalker. The pink/fred meyer team puts up a valiant effort, but can't quite work out the sprints. Walker and I win every madison and every night overall, but due to an unfortunate error in the points race (namely, not starting it ontime), we lose 15 laps and the overall. Whatever. Still came out with a few hundred bucks at local bike shops and a few days of good hard training leading up to.....

.... U23 Road Nationals.
12 hours of driving usually isn't too bad, but when it's at night and your route is the wasteland that is Eastern Oregon and Idaho, things get boring. After a good sleep on a uber-comfy couch, daybreak in Park City means wandering about town, searching for mexican food and the host hotel.
Damn this place is average.
Kind of reminds me of Vegas minus the strippers and neon. Too much money floating around, too many facades on buildings to make everything seem "natural" and "ski lodge-ish." Concrete slap-up construction covered in a plastic/wood veranda to make the local Albertsons seem like it belongs. The fact that the town is completely dead certainly doesn't help its image. Must be what most ski-towns look like in late-june. Just bare-bones staff in cafe's and pizza shops. Just enough cops to cover race duties and parking lots. Seems like most houses here sit empty untill the snow comes back and the executive accountants and retirees stop by for a weekend soiree. Places that would sell for 150k in Portland flash For Sale signs that trumpet costs reduced to 600 thousand. Crazy cost of living, but still pretty cool to take the chair lift that starts in the middle of town up to the top of the 2002 winter olympic ski slopes that overlook the town.

Crit is tommorow at 10am in front of the lavish Deer Valley Resort. 60k of sun and fun. DT

Thursday, June 09, 2005

An Apology, an Update and So Much More....

If the tall blond-ish girl from the Mt. Hood circuit race feed zone is listening, I'm sorry for puking on you.

Honestly. I didn't mean it, I wasn't aiming for you, I just happened to be looking at you, trying to grab a bottle when my stomach detonated after 3 climbs and a couple hours of ouch. Not sure if it was the dehydration, or the redbull or a wicked combination of the two, but whatever the cause, I'm sorry.

To punish myself for not riding through it and finishing the stage, I lined up for Tabor this week. If you've never ridden the Mt. Tabor circuit race before, I'll give you a track-rider's perspective of the weekly event.

When you arrive at Mt. Tabor park on the SE side of town, it's gorgeous, leafy chaos. Winding roads, a killer view of the city, ancient trees, hippies smoking grass on the course, dogs everyewhere, skateboarders, mt. bikers, curious residents, laborador walkers in comfortable shoes, bike racers, punters and hecklers all mixing in a typically Portlandese way to make another wednesday summer evening in the Big P. Line up in the start shute and crawl immediately and quietly into the hurt box. It's uphill, it's downhill, it's uphill again over and over for 15 laps. Some residents and racers in earlier categories recognize the evening beer-drinking ambiance and crack open while we're on the course, so the heckling gets better the farther you make it.

Tuckerman spent at least half the race riding in the gravel, in the gutter, in the grass and generally off the road just to f*@k with people. Little freak surprised no one when he throws down a big sprint up the gutter to win the evening's glory. F*@king mountain bikers... DT

Sunday, May 29, 2005

I Hate Crashing...

...especially when it's not because of some insane last corner manuever or a big-time kamikaze hook. Oh no, the crashes I hate most are the ones that can get chalked up to dumb luck. Take the national qualifier scratch race for example: Early in the dog and pony show I was rolling along, minding my own business in the sprinters lane when WHAMMY some guy comes flying uptrack from the apron and nails my rear wheel as hard as he can. I go rolling across the track, my tire comes rolling off the rim, my skin rolls right off my legs and my bars roll right into my frame, leaving a nice golf-ball sized dent.

Fabulous. Just the thing to make my recent knee problems go away, a good crash.

Ok. Fine. I'll just attack, spend the rest of the race off the front with 2 other guys and get dropped rather suddenly with 5 to go. Sounds like a plan, eh?

Sure seemed smart at the time.

After than dismal performance, only a good ride in the sprints would make my day worthwhile. So naturally I got punted out of the gold medal round by Ryan Miller, a roadie, albiet a very fast and very smart roadie. That one mostly boils down to the fact that I had the chance to close the door on him in a big way, but I second-guessed it and let him walk all over me. Damn. Next race however was against my all-time nemesis. Big Mr. Muscles had also just been beat by a sneak-attack move when he also could have had the race won, so we were on equal levels, morale-wise. This guy can do 200s at Alpensrose like nobody's business, so I wasn't about to let him do one, instead I made him do about 4 and it worked. Barely. I was so depleted after that battle and all the scratch race shenanigans that I couldn't even bring myself to line up for the points race. Man I'm a weako, eh?

On the brightside, we smashed everybody at last week's PIR. With Walker leading me out at mach 10 - jumping the field before anybody was even thinking about sprinting - it was kinda hard not to win. Magic.

You know what else is magic? Bloc Party. Friday night we kicked it old school and rocked out to an amazing show put on by these British lads. There's a lot of talk about Vice, the magazine/fashion label/record lable/marketing machine that backs these guys. Local music snobs get thier panties in a twist when the words Bloc Party are uttered because of the sheer genius of Vice's advertising strategies. Vice is in a rare position in marketing (where thier target audience actually trusts them) and as a result, the bands and the fashions that they push tend to do really well. This case in particular is a great example of why people pay attention to them, and why they are so successful. They promote great bands. Bloc Party is awesome. We had a wicked time. Say what you want about the ruthlessness of the American advertising machine, but when it exposes me to great music like this, I'm not so pissed about it. I'd rather they get behind talented artists and use whatever "guerrilla marketing" techniques they have to get said artists into the open, instead of putting more money behind Jessica Simpson or Clay Aiken.

COMING SOON: MT HOOD, and the never-ending climbs of... Mt. HOOD.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

"They Just Keep Beating On Each Other..."

The boys somehow made it back from the Great Middle American Adventure, and the real racing has finally started... That's right, criteriums and track racing, the true sport. Track has actually been a bit weak lately, out of 6 nights I've only made it out twice. One night I missed on account of my tendency to not pay attention to things, and the other 3 were rain, rain, rain. We have successfully completed a kilo night and a "sprint" night though, and what fun they were. Here's my thing with kilos. Kilos are a genuinely bad thing, and I can't imagine that anyone actually likes them, it just happens that certain people are naturally pretty good at them, therefore the event survives. Nothing hurts more than the last lap of said TT, except maybe the embarrasment of everyone watching how slow that last lap is. I went out so stupendously hard out of the blocks that in the last lap I was seriously considering sitting up and coasting in. I won, but it was with a pretty sad time for a track rider expecting to perform on a national level.

No matter, Friday night is sprint night! Yes! I'm a big fan of match sprints, it's one of the things that I've always been pretty good at, and it's fun to be the lone roadie in the top 3. HOWEVER. Instead of running match sprints, the organizers have decided to hold "sprint events" on every other Friday, this being one of them. "Okay" says I, "Kierins are cool, team sprints are cool, handicaps are cool, this'll be alright." But guess what, instead of actual sprint events, we're gonna do a 10 lap points race with 2 (count em') TWO sprints, a miss n'out, (which I can't complain about much) and an unknown distance, which turned out to be 3 laps.

Are you serious?
I mean, who does this?

Sure maybe I was a bit bitter about not winning the two races which rely on luck, but that's just the thing. There's a couple reasons why top-flight sprinters don't come out of Portland, and this is a big one. Riders improve by doing races that require skill, physical ability and brains, not just luck. A 3 lap unknown distance is like paying 10 bucks to play dice on wheels, it's not even that fun. I understand that the organizers want to make things fun so more people will show up, but why not run sprints on sprint night? Having a sprint night in the first place is a big step towards developing local talent, but running easy races doesn't attract top riders and doesn't do much more to develop that talent. Enough wining. On to the party.

It's a bummer when people tell a host they will show up at a party and never even bother to show up. The Godfreys put a lot of effort into preparing for a certain number of people that said they would attend, and the house was practically empty. Those who were there certainly made the most of the evening, the beer that was intended for about 30 people was consumed by about 6, and the hosts now have enough take 'n bake pizza to last a few years. Heads were shaved, cake was eaten, music was cranked and we had a wicked time anyway. So there.

On a happier note, Rubicon threw down the big one two punch at the Swan Island crit. Everyone's favorite pan-flat cornerless circuit was drenched with rain for the start, which pissed me off so much I had to take my anger out on my legs, and began an ill-advised campaign to make myself hurl by attacking from the gun. The group I ended up in was caught, and the rest of the race turned out to be a great big Rubicon vs. Bike Gallery attack-a-palooza. Halfway through I was tired and not too convinced that a breakaway would work, so I sat back and watched Aaron, Scotty, Walker and Carl stick it to the field like Tina Turner. Here's how the last half-hour went:

Aaron attacks and drags someone with him.
Then he drops them.
So he rides by himself 50 feet in front of the field for the next 5 laps.
Aaron gets caught.
Gallery dudes counter-attack.
Walker counters the counter.
Gallery counters his counter.
Carl counters the counter of the counters and starts a group that Scotty gets into and promptly tears apart.
Aaron goes again.
Splinter The Announcer Guy is beside himself and keeps saying stuff like "Rubicon and Bike Gallery just keep beating on each other. It's like Tyson Vs. Holyfield vs. Ali vs. Tonya Harding"
These cats just keep going at each other, people are yelling, the sun comes out, I jump the field with a half lap to go with Todd Littlehales and Walker The Stalker on my wheel, Walker stalks Todd, throws down a mighty powerful last 5 pedal-strokes to take him down to Chinatown, we strut across the line for a neat one-two finish, I throw the hands up like a big time champ and everybody does a happy cha-cha.

COMING SOON: PIR, TRACK THURSDAY, TRACK FRIDAY, TRACK NATIONALS QUALIFIER and maybe another boring rant or a snazzy piece about how much school is not the coolest thing on the planet. DT

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

TST Is A Pile of Crap And I'm Never Going Back

This one's been held up in the proccess (namely, Norrene's missing laptop) for a few weeks, but I figured since I took 10 minutes out of my life to write it, you should have to take 10 minutes out of yours to read it...

Sending bike racers into a gas station mid road-trip is like letting a group of recovering alcoholics roam around in Liquor King. We can walk through the doors knowing that everything inside does terrible things to the human body – that we should all just use the restroom and leave – but we inevitably walk out with armloads of pop-tarts, hostess cakes, donuts, candy and energy drinks.

Oh the energy drinks. Those terrible 20 oz. cans of amphetamine cocktails with names like Rock Star, (‘party like a rock star!’) Red Bull, (‘red bull gives you WINGS!’) Monster, (‘unleash the monster inside’) Full Throttle, (‘120%’) and others like Kronic (don’t ask). 3 hours of the shakes and nervous energy followed by a massive sugar-induced insulin-crash that sends you searching for the nearest aggressively named can or a nice place to pass out. This is the drink of the athlete’s summer, a vice of otherwise healthy people that takes all winter to detox from. It was only a matter of time before we dove into that evil stuff, but I was hoping to at least make it until the first track night.

But here we are, walking out of an AM/PM in god knows where, central Washington, black spaz-juice in hand.

It’s going to be a long season.

Ever had that feeling that something’s wrong despite no signs to indicate anything other than smooth sailing?

Ever had that voice somewhere in the back of your head telling you that you’re not going to make it through the day?

I thought it was just Rock Star mid-level paranoia until we rolled up to the start of the Tahuya Seabeck Tahuya roadrace 8 minutes after our group had left. So if the rain, the early morning, the drive and the freezing temperatures aren’t enough, try a $25 training ride. After about half an hour of chasing it became apparent that we were making zero ground, and my cassette made it abundantly clear that it was loose and trying to wreck the hub on my carbon wheel, so back to the van I carefully rode.

Unrelated sidenote: There is a club in Seattle that rides in poo-brown uniforms. That’s right. Poo-brown with baby-blue and white stripes. I uderstand they are sponsored by a coffee shop, but whoever is responsible for those kits should be kicked in the shins anytime they are within 10 feet of any kind of design tools. And they should receive a flying head-butt from Scott Allen, I hear those solve practically anything.

Next in line for the Scott Allen flying WWF style head-butt: Team Rubicon. No not the orange ones that are all way cool and ridiculously good-looking, but the new club (also out of Seattle) that calls themselves Team Rubicon. Now come on, I know we’re in different cities and all, but Seattle and Portland are practically the same racing scene, we’re all at the same races and there’s only room for one TR. How about Whatever Velo presented by Rubicon Finance? How about ANYTHING other than Team Rubicon?

Instead of taking our anger out on organizers or competitors, this time we took our anger out on our stomachs: Dairy Queen style. Double western bacon quarter pounder, two corndogs, extra fries, large blizzard and a coke later I was pretty convinced that Scotty wasn't going to make it home without some catastrophic gastrointestinal event, and god knows we've had enough of those in the van lately...

Monday, May 09, 2005

Love And Death In the Time of Lactic Acid

If I don't find some Action soon, if I can't confront some great Evil and do battle like Xena, then I just might crack. This lifestyle of hanging out and going to school just isn't cutting it these days. Granted school has its place and I'm not ready to cancel all classes and career ambitions, but my cycling career ambitions have been pushing thier way to the front of my head lately. 20 and a half years in the history books and where do I go from here? A: Straight through school, putting racing on the three year backburner? B: Straight into racing, putting school on the indefinite backburner and hoping cycling will work out big time? Or C: Somewhere halfway, with 2 classes per term and twice the training time?

Short term goals are such: Rock the house at a few local crits and maybe a track race or two to ease the oncoming waves of ADD and maintain passing grades 'til summer, where it's all battle, all the time. SuperWeek and the AVC, Twillights and tours, BC and LA, love and death in the time of lactic acid. PIR and sprint nights at the track will have to do for now, but these dog and pony shows can only hold my attention span for so long.

Speaking of PIR, missed the first week, but still managed to get second overall. A few classy moves and a week with a 6-man killer leadout made for a quick recovery points-wise, but still not enough to get that first spot. Damn the man. Looks like this year's arch-enemy will be Nate Dills. That bastard beat me straight up last week and that means things are gonna get drastic. So untill then, DT

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Wicked cool links for wicked fun times: It will blow your mind. Scotty can tell a mean story when he isn't busy being such an animal. Everyone loves phobias, especially hypochondriacs. We all know what Bush thinks of North Korea (read: Axis of Evil, Outpost of Tyranny, etc.). Ever wonder what they think of us? Tons of crazy ads, wierd games and bizzare video clips See above, but better.

I promise I'll get around to the Late TST, Dairy Queen Death, Espresso Heart Attack one. Really. Stay Tuned. DT

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

So I'm Unreliable

And not too punctual with the updates. Such is life on the full-time college schedule.

Anyway. Leading the competition for the worst thing of the day (as reported by is the right-wing country/pop/shittymusic duo The Right Brothers. Oh man this is good stuff. Here's a tasty sample of some of the songs (I swear to god I am not making this up): You Can't Racial Profile, Tolerate This, It's My Money, Trickle Down, Dear Mr. Reagan, and the smash hit The Waffle House.
There's not much I can say about this that would sum it up better than thier own bio: "The music they make has been described as “a lethal weapon for conservatives”, “a moral booster for the troops and their families” and “the perfect tool for converting liberals to the right”. no artist has ever tackled the issues addressed by The Right Brothers. Topics on their albums include: the abortion debate, illegal immigration, taxation, Ronald Reagan, the melting-pot (or lack thereof), America’s right to defend herself regardless of what the rest of the world thinks, appreciation for our brave soldiers (past and present), political apathy, and more. The Right Brothers are in tune with today’s political issues and that is reflected in every word they write.

Wow. The perfect tool for converting liberals is a couple of talentless back-assward hicks who sing about Reagan and illegal immigrants? What!? Are these guys for real?

Is this some sick April fools joke? Go to, listen to some samples and you'll find the terrible answer.

So back to the reality-based world we go, and as I'm sitting here not working on whatever history paper or math project is due tommorow, the rest of the young goons on the team are packed into a foul-smelling van, 12 hours into the drive to Athens Georgia. Big Jase barely had time to unpack his bike before it was repacked and ready to roll out on I-84 for the next few days. Of course it's nice to be sitting here in a comfy chair in the college library instead of cramped in the stickerbus for 50 hours straight, but part of me is very bummed to be missing out. I'm a sucker for long cross-country burns and even more a sucker for reckless behavior in strange cities, but alas, here I am. Plenty of summer to go, and plenty of crazy road trips to enjoy.

Soon you'll all be regailed with an amazing tale about how we were late to TST, almost died of Dairy-Queen overdose and nearly gave Aaron a heart-attack with a double espresso. Stay tuned folks, I gotta get to Math... DT

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Memories of the last few weeks come in flashes with loose connections. So busy, no time to relax, no time to train, no time to sit down and write. Stepped off the homecoming plane straight into full-time work and full-time student responsibilities, then ran smack into the Bike Gallery sale and I'm still a little unsure of how it all turned out.


...was endlessly entertaining and likewise frustrating. It's a warehouse sale of bikes and crappy parts. What you see is what you get. No haggling is neccessary, we still won't lower the prices any more. All these things were abundantly clear to every unfortunate soul who walked through the doors, and yet no one seemed to pay any attention. "Do you have any bikes that are closer to the 50-100 dollar range?" No, man. Go to K-Mart. "Are you sure, not even in the back?" The back of WHAT exactly? This is a warehouse!! THIS IS THE BACK. "Okay, well do you think we could work something out to bring this 400 dollar one closer to a hundred?" This is when I smile politely and inside I'm going "get out of my store LIKE NOW!" and the mental image of me nocking over rows and rows of bikes and fenders and pannier racks as I run at top speed for the door, toward the light and my final escape... but no. The next person approached me, "Does this bike come with any clothing?"


5 days of this grind melt into one another, and suddenly it's all over. The last of the customers are still wandering around, but an hour and a half after closing time, we're not worried about customer convenience. Rows of bikes are re-aranged, tables stacked with components are carefully placed on the outside of corners, mechanics and salespeople rip through the warehouse at dangerous speeds, warming up for the festivities ahead.

We race $300 cruisers around slick concrete floors with reckless abandon, (damn the torpedoes) store-bikes destined for a showroom floor slide on beery puddles which appear mysteriously in every corner. This is an excercise in all-out intensity, in high speed handling on bikes never meant for more than 5 miles an hour, and the ability to accept your fate at the hands of those intoxicated fools ripping around next to you. The best way to beat your boss is to make sure he ends up sliding toward the wall of spectators on his back. The only way to win is to be ruthless and stupid.

The average blood-alchohol level rises and spectators become increasingly frenzied as the foot-down competition begins. Take an area about 10 feet square, put 15 people in the middle and the last one standing wins. Some call it circle of death, the rules say "don't talk about the rules." Just don't put your foot down and you win. Players crash to the ground in ugly piles of steel and aluminum, I survive thanks to a kid's size mountain bike and plenty of luck and cheerleaders. 4 left, but it's just me and Jay Graves now. A punk new employee versus the owner of Bike Gallery. A skinny bike racer versus a former BMX superstar, now turned cutthroat bussinessman. I had my money on Jay anyway. Things go smoothly untill I'm slammed into boxes of seats which come crashing to the floor, we power through, someone's yelling KILL over and over. Eventually my full-speed headbutts to the kidneys are my downfall as I throw myself off balance and down to the concrete. Jay is defeated in the final to an uproar, a cheer like you'd hear in an English soccer match, the crazed and rarely felt joy at seeing your boss take a fall.

Events continue long into the night. Skid contests, trackstanding, more racing, more drinking. By this time I've left, my only ride back home is heading out and I'm not one to miss the bus. Back to school in the morning, back to work after that. Hopefully back to racing soon, this work thing is getting to my head. DT

...and you thought I was done... HA. Been a while since I posted last, so I'll sum a bunch of stuff up real quick-like:

  • Passing of the Pope. Anyone who says they didn't like the latest John Paul is either a staunch Protestant or just didn't know much about him. I strongly disagreed with him on a few big issues, but I respect the guy for walking the walk. Ol' JP was a genuine leader and did all in his power (while he still had some) to help people in need. He was one of those guys who actually believed and practiced what he said, unlike most modern figureheads. Big ups to JP.
  • Michael Jackson. Now for the other end of the human spectrum. If we could stop paying attention to this twisted freak, that would be awesome. Granted he was a great entertainer 30 years ago, but now he's a lost and confused creature who doesn't need to be in the limelight.
  • Social Security. Still doomed.
  • Willamette Week wins the Pulitzer for investigative reporting. Awesome stuff right here. In this situation, The New York Times and The Oregonian were "The Man" and Niel Jaquiss from the WW proceeded to "stick it to the man" by fully scooping one of the biggest stories to come around in NW politics in a while, researching like a madman then writing a ball-busting story that prompted a full public apology from Niel Goldschmidt (sexual predator politician/power broker) and much gnashing of teeth from the Boregonian.
  • Boonen unleashes the fury. So this guy hauls off and smashes the best classics riders on the planet at the front, in the hills, over the cobbles on his way to victory in 2 ProTour classics in 2 weeks. Not only that, but the two hardest belgian classics on the entire calendar. Not bad for a "field sprinter." Tour of Flanders AND Roubaix? Are you for real?

Now I'm really done for the day. I promise. DT

Monday, March 28, 2005

All Quiet On The Western Front

I hated that book. Actually I might have dug it, had it not been required reading in High School, but alas, I hated it. Anyway. Who cares?

Point is, things have been quiet latety.

I've been preparing to re-enter my other life as a college student, and have been a bit preoccupied. Books, registration, scheduling, bla bla bla.

Madness on a different stage is winding up again, and dammit this time I'm prepared. American higher education is a wierd and twisted environment full of characters stranger than fiction and more entertaining than anything broadcast over ABC, NBC, CBS, MTV or CNN combined. You can have your Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, because the people sitting two rows up in American History are twice as dense and three times as interesting, because they've got opinions, they know they're right and they are dead sure that you will agree with them. This is my other favorite crowd, the middle-aged never-has-beens, the young never-will-be's and the rest of us floating somewhere in between, just hoping to make it out alive.

Come to think of it, sounds suspiciously like the crowd in my two wheeled life... DT

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Why I Dislike Eastern Bloc Countries

How do these guys keep doing this?

Seriously. How does an unknown 19 year old Russian dude bust out of NOWHERE at the Olympics and lap the field a million times then drop back to 3rd to last at Worlds where some unknown Ukranian dude busts out of NOWHERE to throw down and win. Granted they didn't just step on a bike yesterday, but most of the riders, very few of the media and none of the public knows who these guys are, but they are AWESOME at winning a World Championship or some other amazing achievement then no one ever hears from them again. So bizzare.

All I've seen for the World's points race was the results, no reports or pictures, so it's impossible to tell if this guy benefited from a crash, some wierd race condition, 10 years of daily motorpacing in a secret warehouse in the Russian tundra or slack-ass out of competition testing standards... Hmm.. Either way, Juan Llaneras was the only name on the podium I recognized, and he's on the bottom step. First place was Volodymyr Rybin from the Ukraine and second was Ioannis Tamouridis from GREECE. I mean come on, he's from Greece. The greeks haven't done squat in the track racing world since the Olympics, where they magically got much better, but were still middle of the road at best. Now this guy hauls off and beats the best track racers in the world.

Quote from "Favourites will include 2004 Athens Olympic gold medalist Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus), Joan Llaneras (Spa), the gold medalist in the event at the 2000 Olympics and silver medalist at the 2004 Athens games, Juan Curuchet (Arg), the bronze medalist at last year's worlds, and American Colby Pearce (Boulder, Colo.), second overall in the 2004/05 world cup standings.
Lesse, any mention of Vlad the Impaler or the Greek guy? Nope. Where are our favorites? Llaneras was the only even close in third, and of 20 riders Curuchet, Pearce and Ignatev were 12th 13th and 18th respectively.

I'll hold off on further speculation and slander untill I get the full story, but for now let's just say it's f#%!ing wierd.

In other news, big props to this guy for sticking it to the man:

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Manuevers and Impending Doom Around The Corner

Ah spring racing. Spring and summer racing are two entirely different creatures to me. Even after a winter of good training, everything before June seems to turn into an ordeal in some way or another. I have serious problems with Peice of Cake. The race. Lemmesplain.

First off, it was damn cold. 3 weeks of the best spring weather this region has ever had collapsed by Saturday and we crawled out of the team van in gale-force winds and 40 degree air. Everyone made a big show of how much clothing they were wearing, whined about the weather and talked about how we were probably going to get dropped. Dark predictions for what would become a dark day..

MAYBE 5 miles in I ran into the first Manuever Of The Day. Actually, it ran into me. So we swing around an easy right hander onto a major highway and I'm on the inside, cruising next to the gutter, nicely hidden from the crosswinds when WHAM some hubbard comes careening in from the other side of the road and slams me into the ditch. As I'm looking at the 5 foot drop I'm about to take into the ditch, I can't help but think "WHAT THE F*%! was THAT?" Really. Not sure how he managed that one unless he wasn't paying attention and didn't see the guy dressed entirely in day-glo orange sitting right were he wanted to be. Anyway. Cut to me as my front wheel digs into the gravel and it's DEEP gravel so I'm about to flip over the bars, but in some freak occurance my rear wheel just stays airborne and I roll on my front wheel only, inches away from the big ugly drop untill I come to a cursing halt. Brian drops back and hammers full throttle back to the group with yours truly in tow. I didn't get a good look at the guy who punted me, too bad because I was really itching to say hi.

Anyway, the winning break goes in the first lap as it always does, and I'm not in it. Here's where things start to get ugly. The little green beer dudes have a guy in the break (coincidentally, someone I complained about extensively last week...) so they're not doing squat. That's cool, I can dig that but then as a small group of us start chasing, a couple of these dorks decide to fly around us and sit up. We go around and they come hauling around into the wind, get in front of us and stop pedalling. This pisses me off. If your dude is in the break, go sit in the back, don't race like a bunch of cat. 4's and "block" me. After a while I got tired of A: being one of 3 people chasing in a 50 rider bunch (come on, you don't all have guys up there...) and B: The beginner guerrilla tactics of these dorks, so I go stew in the very back of the field.

This turns out to be a good decision for once, because right in the middle, just where I would usually hang out, the group detonates in tangled limbs and bike parts all over the road. Maybe 10 people or so end up in this fracas, but fortunately I saw it coming in slow-motion, so I roll around. Later I find that Curryboy pulled the second Manuever Of The Day. One of those "putting a wrapper in the back pocket while wheel overlaps" deals. Tough breaks, Curry In a Hurry loses a bunch of skin and might or might not have broken his hand (won't go get it x-rayed) but seems okay aside from that. The crash also significantly reduced the number of green dudes in the field. Bummer they had to go out that way.

So long story short, the winds continue blowing at about a thousand miles an hour across this flat, square course, so I drop the hammer in the crosswinds with one other guy and we split the field a few times and the group gets broken down from 40 post-crash to about 12. Bonus.

I pay for it later, as I feel impending doom in the form of massive quad cramps coming on 3 laps from the finish line. Damn the man. This continues for the rest of the race, eventually developing into muscle sieze every time out of the saddle. 200m from the line I deeply regret my earlier efforts and 50m from the line, within sight of winning the group sprint both legs go into full catastrophic lock and my feet stop going around. This is the kind of cramp that feels like someone simultaneously slices all the tendons connecting your quads to your knees AND shoves baseball bats in your spokes. Two days later I can still feel it. Damn. DT

Monday, March 14, 2005

Bannana Belt 3: Lemming Parade

I have many weapons in the quest to conquer Bannana Belt, that dreaded first race of the US season. This year I attacked with a potent mixture of two weeks of illness and a lack of enthusiasm. The results were un-fantastic, as expected. If nothing else, these three Sundays of furious pageantry make for amazing entertainment, like hanging out in front of the chimp cage at the zoo, waiting for the inevitable crap-tossing fights and spontaneous masturbation.

Remember that game Lemmings? If you've never played Lemmings, you're missing a huge chunk of videogame history. Lemmings is right up there with Pac-Man on the list of all-time classic games... Anyway. The point of the game was to find a way to get a large group of brainless green midgets out of a tricky situation. Lemmings couldn't be counted on to offer any help or great ideas, because (just like the real thing) all they could do was toddle around and walk off cliffs. It was both supremely frustrating and endlessly entertaining.

Cut to the first lap, 11 miles of rolling lakeside roads. I'm feeling like crap on wheels, but it's a sprint lap, sprinters are getting twitchy, and by habit I roll into a nice position close to the front. Bummer deal is, a group of 3 is just off the front of the field, so without considering consequences(thinking is for sissies) I blast out of the field with a K to go and catch the group. It's way too long to go, but choices are few, so instead of slowing down to sprint off the break, I keep up the rediculous effort and attack them as well. Now I see the green guy... He's small, and really green, I've dragged him all this way and now he's gonna try to pass me. Damn the man, I think, and struggle to the line. 20 meters past the line he rolls up and says something about how I suck because I can't ride straight, so naturally I tell him to get f*#ed. I couldn't catch the rest that he fumed through clenched teeth, I think he was a bit upset that I wasn't respecting his authority as a member of the Seattle racing community... oh well...

SO. Jump forward to the next sprint I find myself tangled in, and we happen to be in an identical position: Me bearing down on three guys at a comfortable speed with a good distance between myself and the finish, with a little green shadow glued to my rear wheel.

I have to wonder, how well is he glued there?

How well is he paying attention?

What if I yank the e-brake right... NOW!

And I did. In mid sprint, in a great position and for no good reason at all, as soon as I recognize my shadow and run the previous questions through my head a few times, I abruptly stop pedalling and hear a satisfying flurry of swearing and insults mixed with that great sound of carbon brake-pad squeal. To my credit I never touched my brakes. Just keeping you on your toes, little lemming.

So I pretty much got the cold shoulder from the rest of the Seattle lemmings after that, which was nice. If only I could get another green guy to shut up... He's on a different team that looks exactly the same, and apparently he's really smart, he's wicked fast, he's not even trying right now and he knows exactly what to do in any situation because he's "been around the block." Yeah that's right folks, here comes another former pro, watch out. Apparently one and a half seasons with the worst pro team on the continent entitles you to a king-like status that most of us could only dream of. This guy doesn't seem to get it. Some pros retire because they feel fulfilled with thier results and they're ready to move on, while others get fired because they AREN'T GOOD ENOUGH. Being a pro once doesn't make you cool and it sure as shit doesn't mean that everyone wants to hear you flap your jaw at us for three hours. Seriously. Those 8 year old pro team socks you still wear? Doesn't mean you're not irritating.

Such is the joy of the season's opener. New uniforms, shiny new bikes, a couple new faces and the same jackasses that just keep showing up... What a way to spend a sunday. More fun than TV and a hundred times more dangerous. DT

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Newsflash, Newsflash, and Thank You Captain Obvious

Things around here at Voodoo Madness have been quiet lately, and questions have been raised.

Will this strange experiment continue?

Was it all worth it?

What does it mean?

Question one is inevitably yes... of course it continues. As long as there is Evil and Madness in the world to document and describe, sure. Why not? Bike racing continues uninhibited despite the change of hemisphere, as does life. As for the other two questions, well, no one's keeping score.

Back in the groove to be sure, not a week has passed in the country and I've gained employement. Damn. I tried and failed for months this fall, on the hunt for anything short of burger-flipping. Failure at every turn. And now, in this unusual spring, I get one reccomendation, one psuedo-interview and it's bike-shop paydirt for yours truly. The downside to this (or the upside, depending on who you are) is that combined with university duties and training, spare time won't be so abundant, which will cut down on the blogging. Bummer, yay, whatever.

BIG NEWS... Apparently scientists at Harvard or Yale or somewhere equally prestigious and haughty have discovered after YEARS of research that "laughter can help ease the stress of everyday life." Seriously. That's what they discovered. Wait. Wait... Wait... So you're saying that... Hang on... Let me wrap my head around this one.... So you're saying that laughter... makes you happy? Wait... no it can't be that stupidly simple can it? Or...

This is what happens when proffessors at expensive schools get piles of grant money and spend it all on psychedelic drugs and cars.

"Oh shit, Sam! Our study is due tommorow! Oh crap I forgot all about it, what are we gonna do?"
"Uuuhhmm... Wait... Wait.. I got it. Tell them we did some clinical, double blind, six-month, triple anaesthetic test that proves that laughing makes you happy or something."
"Yeah, yeah. If we just use enough technical jibber-jabber they won't think we spent all our money on weed and Volvos!"

Oh man, and the Circus of Nincompoops continues. The president is now ticked off at the AARP because they DARED to be kinda upset that Bush is dismantling Social Security. Now that he's got the older demographic's vote for his second term, he's ready to steal thier retirement plans but HEY!! DON'T GET MAD AT ME!! I'll make you PAY!! ugghh..
At least some of us saw this coming.

"yeah we'll turn social security into... umm... something kinda like a savings account... actually kinda like your savings account... cause you'll have to save a lot before I drain social security.... which is tommorow when we go to War with (I mean spread liberty to) Iran ... "

Politics is messy. Politics under the most twisted administration my generation has ever seen is pretty scary stuff. Granted my generation hasn't see that many administrations, but I was born in the Reagan era... DT

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Back In Portland, Chasing The Sun Around

After 24 hours of torture-chamber plane seats, idiot passengers and screaming babies, things are back to normal. Back at home, back riding on familiar roads, drinking familiar coffee. It's been an amazing southern hemisphere summer, and I have a lot of people to thank for that. And that means a bullet list (why not).

  • Although my original housing arrangement at Andy's didn't work out, Andy and Peter were still great for making it available, and Andy was an awesome tourguide, part-time chauffer and general moral-booster for my time in Auckland.
  • It'd be tough to completely thank the Starrs for everything they did. Walker for coming up with a place for me to stay on no notice, then driving me around and being a all-around stand-up good guy, his parents Rick and Nancy for accomodating me in every way they could, Tom for keeping things interesting and Rico for just being Rico.
  • Brei and her family were also great, putting me up in my own room, carting me to races and being generaly cheery. Remember Saul, AMERICA!!! F#*@ YEAH!!! Also, if any of you ever need a team manager, I suggest Brei, she's quite the organizer.
  • Scottie for setting me up with places to stay in Nelson and Invercargill, that part of the trip would've been much tougher (and not as cool) without help.
  • My host families in Nelson and Invercargill were awesome. I'm convinced that hosting multiple bike racers is above and beyond the call of duty, and I wouldn't wish it on my greatest enemies.
  • The fine people at Altezano coffee shop in Auckland, for they kept me alive...
  • All the random people I met and hung out with... you were all very cool.
  • Troy for being angry. Don't stop being angry Troy, don't stop.
  • Jenny for all the emails and conversations (and still being there when I got back).
  • Norrene for her support and patience.
  • Last but certainly not least, my parents who gave me every opportunity I ever needed and made all this possible. They even suggested that I drop all my classes and go be a bum, how cool is that?

I missed people, I'm sure of it. It's going to bite at me for weeks, I just know somewhere out there someone is reading this going "dammit you ungratefull little..."

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Checks Are Your New Favorite Band

Tuesday night was to be the final full night in the Big Smoke, Auckland City. Once again plans never came to pass and 4 of us were left gathered on couches looking at each other. Looking at the TV. Looking at the paper. Thinking, hmmmm... What's happening on the first Tuesday that school's back in session?


At 8:56 someone fishes a torn flyer from the bottom of a jacket pocket. The Checks and The Mint Chicks: Kings Arms Tavern, Tuesday night, 9:00. I caught the end of a great set by The Checks at a free outdoor concert a couple weeks ago and happen to have it on good word that the Mint Chicks blow minds with thier live shows, so into a car we pile and off to the show we go.
At top speed we reach the King's Arms across town in incredible time, just as The Checks are taking the stage. Here I feel comfortable. These last few months I've had a great time out with the lads, but the norm around these parts are polished dance clubs filled with Gucci-clad trust funders and annoying blond bimbos. If I wasn't with friends and comfortable with my lack of dance skills, the whole Auckland scene would be depressing. As it is, I tend to feel out of place in a Clash t-shirt and jeans when surrounded by people dripping with money. So when we walk into the tiny, slightly grimy Kings Arms I begin to feel much better. I'm not so out of place in my Portland gear and shaved head. Things are looking up. The amps click on, guitars plug in and the last night in Auckland is underway.

I have this feeling about The Checks. I realized halfway through the first song that it would be criminal... absolutely criminal if these guys don't find some level of success in the States and beyond. Imagine the lovechild of Jet and Franz Ferdinand, then give them the balls of AC/DC, the stagecraft of The Rolling Stones and the boundless energy of The Hives, there you have The Checks. Very well crafted songs, but beyond that, these guys realy Feel It. They get rolling and the whole crowd can Feel It, because that's the kind of energy they put through the amps. The singer dances and freaks all over himself while the guitarists compete in some kind of unjudged dance battle, all the while the lead guitar is absolutely WAILING on 5 strings, broken steel be damned, with some kind of Detroit Rock City face-melting solo that would make Jack Black break down and weep. To make things worse, these guys are my age. Damn. The Checks. Remember that.

The only minus was the shortness of the set, maybe half an hour and they were out. Just enough to get the crowd frothy and amped and out the door they go to make way for the Mint Chicks.

Wasn't sure what to think when 4 guys in matching gold vinyl jackets strolled on stage. I guess I was expecting, well, chicks. To say that they launched into thier set is a blatant understatement. From the word go (there actually wasn't time for the word go, it was just ZANG!! and they're off) I was floored. If you can't get amped and crazy with the Mint Chicks on stage, you're too old or too sad, it's hopeless and you should give up. This is a new kind of spaztic energy, a bizzare hour and a half uncompromising freakout of four guys who really want to knock your socks off and know exactly how to get it done. They're not angry. They're not mean. They just play extremely fast with the amps turned up to 11, and they're not slowing down for anybody. This isn't punk or metal, it's rock for robots who like to drive real fast and break things. It's a minute of maximum effort and then a heart-stopping pause before launching right back to a bazillion miles an hour. I think everyone in the Kings Arms lost it for a while, went completely off the scales with the singer as he thrashed around with us, threatening to never stop and never slow down until one of us keeled over from a heart attack or plain exhastion. When they finally ran out of songs, unplugged and dissapeared, I was a bit lost. No one knew how much time had gone by, it was just a fizzing sea of excited people, dripping sweat and ready for a big glass of water. The Mint Chicks are musical Danger... in matching gold jackets.

Like I said before, I think the Checks will make it. I think they'll get big and a handfull of us will be able to say "yeah I was there, I saw them back in the day." I think they have the musical talent and the showmanship to go big. The Mint Chicks will always have a special place in my heart, and they could certainly make it to the States, but they're too uncompromising. Too off in thier own psychotic world for commercial success. The Checks are musical meat and potatoes, The Mint Chicks are crack and cheez-whiz. Simple as that.

Great night, great show, full of danger and intrigue. A great exclamation point on an already excellent trip. A fitting end. DT

p.s. go here now or else...

Monday, February 28, 2005

Unfocused Brainwaves... Early Morning Farewell Part II

I looked at my camera today and saw that I haven't really taken that many pictures. I have over a hundred random shots of faces, landscapes and cities, but there are so many gaps, so many things I'm not going to be able to show people back home because I either didn't have the camera, or was too busy to get a picture.

Take Nelson for example. Amazing area, ringed with mountains and beaches, very picturesque. However. I was on a mission. A mission of four-day survival. My routine (aside from new years) was get up, drink mad amounts of coffee, eat, spend the day racing and riding, eat again, watch the news and go to sleep. Rinse and repeat. I was so tired most of the time it would have been an enormous effort just to leave the house. I saw some amazing things out on the courses, but it would have been a little odd to sit up in mid-gasp, reach into my back pocket and snap a lovely photo at 80k an hour screaming down some twisty descent. Ah well.

Wanganui is mostly my fault. I have very few pictures from Wanga-Vegas because I left rather suddenly. Opportunity called, Auckland racing and training was to be done, so I jetted almost without warning one day, much earlier than I had previously planned. Plus my batteries died. The one day that I did go out with my camera, I only got of a few shots on the way to the beach before it decided to call it an early day. For shizzle.

I guess the big picture (pardon the chauncey-ism) is that I was too busy just being here to worry about cameras. Things to do and places to go. People to see. Rides to ride and food to eat. And on that note this summer/winter was incredible.

I spent the coldest months of the year, (months I'm usually unmotivated to ride and bogged down in school) racing and riding in shorts and a jersey. I wore armwarmer and legwarmers maybe 4 times: warming up for races in Invercargill, the bottom of the world. I can't say that I've ever overtrained myself before this year, but I was rotten and injured by the end of January after 2 months of solid racing. You know what they say, you never know where the line is untill you've gone over it. That set me back by a few weeks, but I'm not worried. August is a long way away, and one of the biggest things I figured out this trip was one of the simplest lessons of them all. How to be a bike racer. How to get up every day and go training. Every day. Without fail. Lack of motivation and New Years's partying be damned, time to go. I've always had some excuse to not go training, whether it was school, work, weather, being tired from school or work, etc. These last few months I haven't had any of those available, and I feel better than I ever have on a bike. The challenge is going to be carrying that work ethic over into April when I go back to work and school.

For now I'm just thinking short term. Get packed, go ride, bask in a last day of sunshine, get to the airport on time, get home, get unpacked, back to racing on Sunday. The story never ends for an adolescent-minded adult like myself. On to the next day, making some kind of progress toward idealist ambitions like professional athletics, rock star journalism, or who knows what else. I'm not worried, just packing and enjoying the day. DT

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Goodbye to Piha

It's one of those Saturdays where the sky streteches coast to coast like a big blue perfect dome, and it's time to ride once again. This Saturday's a rest day, a day that I'm supposed to take easy, drink coffee and roll around for an hour or so.

Ten minutes into the ride I get hungry. I realize, hey, I haven't eaten anything yet today. SO. To the coffee shop I go.

Double flat white and an eggs benedict later a couple of local rider-types I know from races show up, drink coffee with me and chat about bike related things. When they suggest "you want to come with us?" it's a bit of a dilemma. I'd really like to ride on my own today. I'd really like to take it easy. But.... I'm not Weak... am I? Of course not, I'll go.

Four hours later I'm getting agitated. My inner self (that annoying little dork) says "dammit I'm tired, this is not what I was counting on... you tricked me." I'm on my way home, a mere hour from the couch and a PB and J sandwich, but it still feels like the world is trying to punish me. Someone (a big someone) is telling me what I can do with my impulsive nature. Long story short, my one hour easy spin turns into 5 hours of Training. BUT... Things can only get better from here...

And they do. The call comes through just after I'm home and soon after the old stationwagon full of rowdy bike racers pulls up to the curb. I'm still a little shot from the morning and pretty uncomfortable, smashed in the backseat of this againg Audi for what seems like forever. Out the windows the suburbs give way to unstoppable uninterupted green, and now I know where we're headed. Smiles all around, Piha is a few minutes away.
By 4:00 we're standing on the beach while the whitewashed sounds of Salmonella Dub (a fine NZ electro/ska/reggae act) wash over myself, my mates and a lazilly dancing crowd of several hundred. This beach we're taking over, it's the beach you see in dreams of sunny paradise. It's banked on all sides by palm and jungled hills, the Waitakere Ranges. Lion Rock stands tall just barely off shore like a hundred story tower of birds and stone. This is a place that is obviously a mission to get to. 45 minutes of driving through twisted, scary jungle roads keeps the beachgoing population well below California levels, but more striking is the surrounding valleys. Every direction your head turns, it's gorgeous. It's deep green, sand or sky blue. Even the light shorebreak waves, a perfect sky blue. Palm trees and deep ferns sway just off the beach in a light offshore breeze. Salmonella Dub has thier soundstacks pointed right out into the ocean, so we go from saltwater swims to sundried daydreams under the influence of basslines and soaring trumpets.

Another afternoon melts into lazy evening on a postcard beach, and by now I feel like I haven't ridden for weeks. Legs feel like new, lungs feel like new, brain fires at an alarming rate. Drifting in and out of sleep reclined on a driftwood log, I half people-watch, half panic. Everything familiar seems far away, as it is, and it's all at once unsettling and comfortable. I didn't know these people 3 months ago, and now they treat my like I've been here all along. I'm completely out of place, but this enormous city feels like a second home. Makes no sense, but I'm getting used to it. Just as I start packing to come home, I'm getting used to it. I'll be back at Piha someday, I'm sure of that. Only a matter of time, but Goodbye For Now, my new favorite beach. Farewell Piha, I'll miss you.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Wild Twillight Zone Happenings At Incredible Velocity

So I was checking my flight times today and found something pretty sweet. I'm flying back in time. Ever had one of those days where you go "GAWD! I just wish I could have the last couple hours of my life back!!"

I can say that on Wednesday, and it'll HAPPEN. Yes, folks that's right, I'm flying into some crazy twillight-zone vortex that allows me to leave Auckland at 10:30pm on Wednesday the 2nd, and arrive in Los Angeles at 1:25pm on Wednesday the 2nd... Sweet. International time-zones? What? Don't wreck the party, it's a International Time Warp.

What do you do in a situation like that? We're not just talking about numbers on a spinning plate here, people. What happens when we see a backwards sunset over the Pacific? Chasing down the sunset like a beast, passing it like it's standing still, then watching it catch up and fall over Los Angeles like a wasted deer with a broken back? Will some crazy beatnick hippy's head explode from some kind of awful time-thought overload? What happens when a couple hundred people in the grips of free chardonnay and warm cordon-blue entrees hurtle through near-space at a bazillion miles an hour into the past?

What's the solution? Granted, a majority of people won't give it the slightest thought, but some of us are a little easier to frazzle. So what do we do here? Simple actually:


That's it right there, that's the secret. You're looking at thirteen hours inside a metal tube, what else are you going to do? Read Sky Mall? Watch some evil crap like Spy Kids 2? Think about the wierdness of travelling through time untill your brain blows out of your ears? No way. It's party time. Midnight O clock, just let me hook up my iPod to the intercom systems, turn off that stupid seatbelt sign and get down with your bad self, because we're travelling through time at incredible speeds, and how often do you get to do that? DT

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Fruit Golf, Sport of Champions

NEW SPORT ALERT. Fruit Golf. Who's game?

Fruit Golf was born on the tail-end of the summer in the guise of Rest Day Activity. Necessity is the mother of invention, and boredom is the mother of stupidity. And fruit golf. This is what happens when international bike bums take a day off. Rules as follows:

First. Gather a group of people who don't play golf. Real athletes work best for this. Athletes tend to be rediculously competetive and completely unskilled save for thier chosen sport.

Second. Start the grill. Large one if possible.

Third. Gather all the old fruit and vegetables that won't be missed, also taking care to empty the refrigerator and the freezer of any meat and frosty beverages.

Fourth. Meat goes on the grill, fruit goes in the yard. Enjoy a frosty beverage.

Fifth. Yard must have at least one wall of vegetation (or other similarly solid thing) at least 10 feet high. That's three meters or so for all you metric-inclined geniuses.

Sixth. Obtain a golf club and eye protection. Irons are best, go for the 5 or 6 if possible. Mirrored aviators are also key.

Seventh. As Mel Gibson said in some lame M. Night Shalamalam movie about aliens: Swing away. Shots are judged on shrapnel accuracy, shrapnel size, shrapnel distance, and swing style. If you look like Tiger back when he won stuff, more points to you. If you look like some spaztic crackhead with a metal stick (like most of us do), that's negative points. Old avocados are the cornerstone of the sport, as when struck by a 5 iron they burst into a million green peices, covering everything (and everyone) within a 30 foot radius, while the pit continues toward the wall of vegetation, acting as the perfect marker for accuracy. Eat as much as possible, talk about who's faster and who plays better fruit golf, enjoy a frosty beverage.

Ninth. It's getting dark, so scour for more fruit, play another round and argue about who won over more food and frosty beverages. If negotiations fail, resort to hand-to-hand combat.

UNRELATED SIDE NOTE: In future Winter Olympic figure skating judging fiascos, I say let them duke it out. Figure skaters are built kinda like bike racers (that's sad for us), and bike racers are seemingly incapable of actually hurting each other without weapons (or bikes). Skaters have similar upper-body strength, so why not? What's the worst that could happen? What could possibly go wrong? DT

Monday, February 21, 2005

Dr. Gonzo, Down and Out In Aspen

"My life has been the polar opposite of safe, but I am proud of it and so is my son, and that is good enough for me. I would do it all over again without changing the beat, although I have never reccomended it to others. That would be cruel and irresponsible and wrong, I think, and I am none of those things.
Whoops, that's it, folks. We are out of time. Sorry. Mahalo. " -Hunter S Thompson

Last published words of the first and only Gonzo Journalist. Eerily enough these were the words I read not two hours before learning of the death of Hunter S. Thompson. Last night in his Aspen compound, Thompson put an abrupt period on the most brutally crazed life and career in modern writing. According to his son Juan, Dr. Thompson fatally shot himself. Age 65.

If you're looking for cycling news, or comments life on the other side of the planet, you won't find it today. An influential person in my life died tonight, so this rant is all literary snarl and babble. I'll be back to my normal self later, but tonight it's story time.

I first picked up a copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas at the tender age of 16. This was about the time that I discovered Fight Club by Chuck Pahlaniuk (thanks mom) and these two books had a major impact. Immediately. At the time I was struggling with the idea that I wasn't good at anything. Too small for football. Not smart (or patient enough) for Math or Science. Music? No good. Painting? Worthless. Drawing? Just as pathetic. Writing? Well, I can't write like Stienbeck or Kingsolver (nor do I want to), and newspaper writing is dry and boring so looks like that's out as well. Right?

Enter Pahlaniuk and Thompson. What initially struck me about thier work was the subject matter. Any 16 year-old suburbian rat would get jacked about the up-front, no-bullshit, uncensored manner that these guys talked about drugs, violence and sex, those taboo of taboo subjects to a pubescent lad. "This stuff is better than an R rated movie! It's so graphic!" Then, halfway through Fear and Loathing I suddenly Got It. The drugs and violence might have got me interested, but what kept it mind-blowing was the style these guys had. The way they wrote, not just what they wrote about. They didn't need "outlines" or "acts" or "proper structures." They wrote like they thought, at a million miles an hour. You had to keep up or get f&#ed, these guys weren't teaching to the bottom of the class and I loved it. I started to really enjoy writing for English assignments, purely to see how far I could push myself. I found my voice, and I spent the rest of High School seeing how hard I could write without getting failed, and it payed off. By the end of Sophomore year I could ace every single essay without fail and practically without thought. By my Junior year creative assignments and short stories became these sprawling creatures jammed out in a couple of hours the morning of the due dates, pure train of thought. Final drafts were edited down to a manageable 13 pages or so. I spent all class periods writing in cheap $1 notebooks, filling volume after volume with whatever and ever, amen. This did little for my grades, but wonders for my head.

I went on to read The Rum Diary, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail and (more recently) Kingdom of Fear. I re-read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas several times, and polished off Pahlaniuk's entire collection, moving on to Keroac, Leary and on and on. This isn't to say these were the only things I read. I would regularly be going through 3 books at a time (thanks ADD), usually instead of homework. You can have your Friends reruns and your Survivor. I'll hang out with Christopher Moore, Tim Robbins, Nick Hornby, Dave Eggers and Dr. Gonzo himself. So when it came time for my high-school counselor to ask me what I wanted to major in (assuming I made it into a University), I barely hesitated before saying "journalism." Like I'd do anything else. I passed my math classes by a thread (and by cheating). Science wasn't much better. I wasn't motivated enough to sell stuff I didn't care about, so business was out. I like writing, it's my thing, and I can largely thank HST for that.

Say what you want about his books glorifying reckless behavior, drug culture and general lawlessness. You're mostly right. To me, however, he wasn't babbling on about drugs (well, not entirely anyway), he was trying to extend what Keroac and the beat poets were hinting at. He was trying to find that free, open lifestyle of "life as it comes to you." Enjoying the moment. He was living the most he possibly could, and he didn't like the idea of being held back by authority figures and social rules. Scratch that. He loved rules, he just loved to break them, that's how he felt alive. Kept jumping out from around corners yelling "DOES THIS FREAK YOU OUT?!?" Kept telling The Man to shove it and kept going with his own flow. I certainly wouldn't choose his path, but for this basic philosophy I can at least respect him.

Hunter S Thompson didn't single-handedly change journalism (like he might claim), but he certainly did influence many a writer. I enjoyed his stuff. Still do. If I become "a writer" I'll be able to list him near the top of my influences. And that's really the point. His articles in Rolling Stone (which I ended up reading from archives 20 years after they were published) and Fear and Loathing on The Campaign Trail turned me on to journalism as Art, not just Formula.

I can't say that I'm surprised that he's dead. It's like your ancient great-great aunt finally passing away: you know it had to happen sooner or later, it's just the finality of the thing that's heavy. It's more of a surprise that his drug-addled body lasted as long as it did. Who knows how long he would have gone if he hadn't pulled the plug himself? That's something that was always consistent in his books, that question, "how long can we go like this, how long can we maintain?" Now you know. No matter how strong the body is, if the brain can't hold out, the whole thing goes down the crapper. Simple as that.

"If the greatest mania of all is passion: and if I am a natural slave to passion: and if the balance between my brain and my soul and my body is as wild and delicate as the skin of a Ming vase-
Well, that explains a lot of things, doesn't it?" -HST from Kingdom of Fear

Ok, I feel much better now. Cheers, Hunter. Your legacy's safe with us. Mahalo. DT