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

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