Monday, July 30, 2007

i feel dusty

Winthrop in late July is a dusty, dirty, hot tinderbox just waiting to burst into flames. It's like Bend, but hotter. Great place for an outdoor wedding, don't you think? Actually Solomon's wedding was this last Saturday, it was pretty great. Hot, but great.

We showed up on Wednesday for some bachelor and bachelorette party time, and to help set up the big shindig in Brandy's parent's back yard. Actually, it's more of a mountainside acreage than a back yard, so setup involved alot of carrying chairs and tables around, building dance floors and clearing 20 years of accumulated knicknacks and gardening things. All the while, brandy's parents would keep us hydrated with a steady stream of beer, which does not work as well as one might think. (it's made of water, right?) The ceremony itself was cool, despite having to stand next to solomon in the groomsman attire of black shirt, black vest and black shoes in the 95 degree heat. I guess we know which one of my groomsmen is wearing the skirt and heels at my wedding...

The reception was all anyone could hope for. Plenty of drinking and merryment, good food, good dancing, and in true hippie fashion, an impromptu rhythemless drum-circle, which was fun all the same. Jenny and I retired late, woke up far too early the next day, piled in the truck, drove the 8 hours back home and collapsed on the couch. As I was sitting there I could hear Des in the back of my head reading me the riot act in his sickeningly calm and quiet carribean manner, bemoaning my 6 days without turning a single pedalstroke and 4 days of excessive calorie intake (mostly in beer form) and excessive alchohol intake (see previous parenthises). So I knew I had to do some kind of ride.

It's now 5:30pm. I could A: do the stumptown-bikepath-cemetery-stumptown loop, which makes for just short of an hour if I go slow, usually a good choice for a recovery ride or easy day. I could do B: The stumptown-cemetery-council crest-skyline-germantown-23rd loop, which is a good hard couple of hours. I could also do C: drive up to Vancouver, pay 15 bucks and see how long I can stay in the Courthouse Criterium, and hope there's an early prime wortwhile. C seems pretty alright... Long story short, I thought I was going to spew within the first 5 minutes, and 10 minutes in I realized that A or B would have been far smarter in the long run. I lurked around in the top ten for a while until I heard the bell ringing for 50 bucks cash around 20 minutes in. I stomped on it on the back straight, got a decent gap and who do I see coming up behind me in the last couple of turns but the Aussie. Fan-effing-tastic! Kept it fast but reasonable the last couple of turns as he drifted everyone back a couple of lengths, he made a show of sprinting up to me in finish straight, so I did the same and it was game over. So 50 bucks in hand I pull the pin, ride around the block a few times, barely avoid hurling in front of an 8 year old, and roll back to the van, where Engine 82 from the Vancouver Fire department had just pulled up to watch me race. Little embarrasing there... "hey, we thought you were racing today!" yeah... about that... I only dress the part and ride the bike... not really a bike racer today...


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

transfusions of blood for make benefit glorious nation of kazhakstan

Another one bites the dust.

When Skerrit told me Vinokourov tested positive this morning, for a split second I thought "but he seemed like such a great guy!" Then I thought back on doping cases of the recent past:

Roberto Heras. Nice guy
Tyler Hamilton. Really nice guy
David Millar. Nice guy, and Scottish too
Stephen Alfred. Exceptionally nice guy
Ivan Basso. Quiet, but always looked nice
Floyd Landis. Funny looking, but nice
Alexander Vinokourov. Crowd favorite. Like cheering for a scrappy puppy in the middle of a huge dogfight.

How ironic that his road stage came at a very familiar point, and in a very similar situation as a memorable stage last year. He gets spooked by the testers on the TT stage so uses the same old blood he's had for the last 48 hours, gets stomped, recieves some fresh blood the next day and makes a miraculous turnaround. One day he rides like a cold turd and the next day he's a heroic pheonix soaring to victory on a flaming golden pillar of fire, burning to a crisp everyone in his magnificent wake. Didn't floyd do that? oh yeah. Tried to forget that one.

So I guess I'm bummed, but not surprised. It's like when you broke the glass vase on the mantle when you were a kid and your mom says "I'm not angry, I'm just dissapointed."


Monday, July 23, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

pull the trigger, push the kill button.

Turned in our 30 day 'notice to vacate' at our apartment today. The Plan thus far: Get married, get Jenny through her finals to finish her bachelors and out we go. Off into the great blue yonder. Looks like I'll be headed back to the springs for a few weeks before the nationals champs to see if I can get scary fast. If I get scary fast and ride some blazing times at Natz, I'll head home, pack up some stuff, grab Jenny and head on down to the other olympic training center in sunny San Diego for the cold winter months, train train train, race a world cup or two, then head to the new Home Base in Colorado Springs.

If I don't get crazy fast and can only manage to get pretty fast, and if I get the old "good job, at least it's progress... maybe next year" bs, then it's back to PDX for a couple of months, save up some cash, then head to CSprings in february or march, as soon as the goons get back from San Diego.

So I suppose my life is taking a rapid left turn that even I didn't really see coming. But hey, I'll roll with it. Jenny's into it. Adventure on, man. Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead and all that good stuff. Just like kierins I suppose. You plan as best you can, but when it all comes down, you really just close your eyes, hit the gas and hope for the best.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

bored. gore ahead.

This picture is a 9.4 on the nasty scale, and will probably blow your mind.

I think we should rid our country of prisons and just hold a running of the bulls every couple of weeks. Idiots like this could thin themselves out of the gene pool.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


that dogs hate pink.

BLAM! Gotcha! Take that Pinky! Dog 1, skinny roadie 0.
Look at that form! Perfect slide tackle.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

home again

back on home ground, and just finally getting caught up again. Lots of wedding stuff to do, lots of shop stuff to do, my apartment's a bit of a disaster and there's still and XL pile of riding to be done.

Missed that view.

AVC went well. Not as well as I wanted, because I didn't win everything and be crowned Champion Of All, but I'll take what I can get. Here's what I got:
Qualified first in the 200 with the ugliest, most completely out of control ride of my life. I tried a super-early mach 3 wind-up and came into 1 and 2 so fast I drifted all the way to the top of the track and rode on the vertical retaining wall for a couple of pedalstrokes. So my brain registers whats going on and immediateley goes AAAAAH!!! SHUT IT DOWN!!! so I did for a couple seconds and then my brain went AAAAHH!!! I"M GOING TOO SLOW!! and I re-jumped so hard i felt my ankles and knees shed a single tear.
Sprint rounds went well until I rode Felix Haspel. The Plan: Get the lane, keep him checked uptrack on my hip, twist the throttle on the backstraight, sail home for the V. The Reality: Got the lane with a semi-suicidal jedi manuever underneath at speed, let up for a split second to keep him checked, and just as I give one soft pedalstroke, he gives full juice and comes right back over the top. Obviously nobody told him the plan. Caught back on, tried to come back around, but could make it. That put me into a deep funk and into the 3rd 4th ride with Kelyn Acuna. In my book, Kelyn's just as fast as Felix, so I couldn't make the same stupid mistake. So defying all expectations, I didn't. Used a sweet Keirin-Fu manuever to steal the lane on the backside when he was looking right at me, wound it up on the front straight to uncomfortable speed, gassed it on the bakcstraight and sailed home.

Kierin also did not go to plan. Our first round was so F-ed up in to many ways that the officials completely cancelled the results and restarted us. Let me count the ways:
1. The heat featured 4 of the 6 riders that would eventually make it into the final, but only 1 rider would go through to the next round.
2. Rene Regimbald was riding like an 8 year-old playing Kierin Battlewars for XBOX. Guy was all over the place, trying to crash Jeff Hopkins for 4th wheel with 5 laps to go, telling Hoppy he was going to kill him. Come on. Hoppy may not be big, but he's crafty, and more importantly, he's from Australia, which gives him automatic danger-mouse status. Those guys are all descendents of murderers and theives, and you can see it in the way Robby McEwen and all the rest of them ride (excluding Michael Rogers and Cadel Evans).
3. They rang the one lap to go bell with two to go. We sprinted anyway, because when you hear the bell, you go. As Barlee and I came across the line with a bike throw, the bell rang again. Que?

So after a great reshuffling, we got out rides in and all went well. I led out both my heats, made it through each to the final. Final did not go so well. I pulled 6th up high, so had to start in the worst possible position. The only way to make good on this would be to A. jump with all I had and pull my guts out my ears to get first or second over the top of a bunch of strong dudes off the gun or B. gamble on the secret-squirrel jump from the back as soon as the motor pulls off. I chose B. My jump from the back was cancelled by the fact that Kelyn Acuna led it out at full gas as soon as the motor pulls of, so I switched to Plan C: close your eyes, hit the gas, shoot underneath everyone who drifts up for a split second and hope that a hole opens up before the line. Plan C generally isn't the most successfull way to go, but sometimes it's the only way, and it's fun in the way that that Big Drop amusement park ride is scaryfun. I'll take 4th by a wheel over 6th any day.

Did the team sprint, did the flying lap, both were kinda blah.

Brad and Dan rode like ten men in the endurance stuff. Brad pulled my favorite straight-arm shove "get out of my way" move in the madison. Brought a tear of joy to my face. Jimmy Lingwood gets the jersey for Most Agressive Asian Rider. Ping Pong would have been proud, but he was elsewhere. Probably napping.

Killer thunderstorm couple nights ago. Jenny and I watched like 6 year olds for a solid hour. "OOH! Good one!" "Whoah, I think that was close!"


Monday, July 09, 2007

last couple pictures from the springs

I laughed a little every time we rode by these guys.

Must be tough...

The main weight room, the fishbowl. Hurt be here.

You wanna say that to my face?

The main drag. Sports medicine on the left, admin and weight rooms on the right and the athlete center straight ahead.

Kiss the rings...

Headed home. This building is our kitchen, the home of our coaching staff, dormitories and big TV's playing Wimbledon and SportsCenter.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Mostly done...

Finally got some racing in last night. We crammed 2 days worth of racing into one night session (thanks CSprings for throwing down for a killer lighting system). Considering the field (4 olympians including a pan-am champ) I wasn't too sad about 5th in the sprints and 5th in the kierin. Best of the rest I suppose. We did manage a 2nd in the team sprint with the slowest first lap and best 3rd lap of the night(thankyouverymuch). Think I tied with Andy our mechanic for finest heckle of the night. Adam Duvendeck was feeling pretty green after a spot of food poisoning and a complete emptying of his stomach onto the warmup track after his 200m. So he lines up against Trini in the sprints and I hang over the rail stretching out an extra small Dixie cup and yell "If you're gonna spew, spew in THIS!" in a spot-on perfect Garth Algar voice. Made my day, ruined his, Trini wins, mission accomplished. Pictures, go!

Trinidad & Tobago rider Chris Esellier did a 40mph bellyflop and learned why you should never use tubular tape.

Jamaicans don't do rain.

We took cover just before the hail started. Tornado warnings started taking over the news channels shortly after.

The awesome thing about this one is, the track here dries so fast, we were racing again an hour after I took this picture and the hail stopped. The gutters were still packed with snow when I rolled out for my final sprint ride.

The infield may be underwater, but game on.

The barbeque smoke was killing me. So hungry. Soooo hungry...


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

After endless sunny days, the moment our racing starts the sky opens up. My rollers were pointed in the direction of the oncoming black death in the sky, so I had the opportunity to watch it bear down on us. That big beast moved fast. Couldn't have been more than a half-hour between total sun and drowning in rainwater. I'm not talking Portland drizzle, this was violent rain.

Bummer deal. I've been doing quicker and quicker times since I did the 10.6, so I was ready to see what I could do on race day with good conditions. Instead we sat, tried to wait it out, watched endurance freakjob Colby Pearce play with his iPhone, eventually left, and ate ourselves to sleep.

Nerd alert!

This is how sprinters clean thier bikes.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

tired today.

This center is so huge, today was the first time I've seen the south end of it. Went to Sports Medicine to get an ice pack and was almost run over by a 30 person tour group. We live on the North end of the complex, behind huge ABSOLUTELY NO VISITORS signs, but a good deal of the support facilities and gyms are on the South end, in what people call the 'fishbowl.' For instance; one wall of our lifting room is a bank of glass windows. Tours run through the South end of the complex every hour, so at least once every workout we become a zoo exhibit. At first I found it a bit annoying, but it's not so bad if you have fun with it. Adam made a big show of doing some bicep curls with a pink plastic 1 pound dumbell, straining and huffing and puffing like a jerk. I just tried not to hurt myself in front of the tourists.

Watched the Juniors do a Kierin last night. Everyone in the group has thier targets set squarely on the back of the punk who won. The guy is plenty fast to win it the right way, but he insisted on racing like a juiced-up wrestler. Throwing unnecessary chops and putting everybody else at risk just so he could look cool. Should be good when he races with the seniors on the 4th.

Trini and I got locked into a giant Mario Kart-off last night, which lasted well into the morning hours. You've never seen true cut-throat competition till youve seen a bunch of Olympians trying to hit each other with turtles and bannanas in a four-way geek-out. I thought Sarah Hammer was going to eat us if she got knocked out of the match at one point. Adam Duvendeck was crowned Girliest Girl of the OTC after he couldn't stop letting pre-pubescent shreiks fly every time he got in trouble. He was so offended he went out and immediately slept with the first 20-something sports-med intern girl he found. I only made it to the quarterfinals, but I'm giving it all tonight.

Here's some pitchers.

Trini in my way, trying to capture the essence.

Blatch and Aaron Kacala, Gut-Off '07

Some idiot, Blatch, Trini, and junior enduro phenom (imposter) Kit Karzen

There it is. There's the essence.