Wednesday, January 30, 2008

so's your mom

So Shannon has a new blog. I know. Exciting isn't it? If you don't have enough cats, Lost, Kozy Shack, cross, cross dressing or cats in your life (all narrated in a curiously asian accent), head on over to BikeBlogSnobDotBlogspotDotCom.

And Shannon, if you're reading this right now, so's your face.


Friday, January 25, 2008

It's Friday night. Do you feel alright?

Get to it.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

homegrounds. sort of?

Back on friendly shores again. It's been a good return. I've eased back into daily life and once again find myself working in a unfamiliar place. The shop in Lake Oswego needed a few people to cover shifts, I have nothing better to do, so here I am. Back in the nether-suburbs, looking for a cup of coffee.

People here have never seen a pedestrian. That's the only rational explanation I can gather for the 20 times I nearly died while attempting to cross the street. Seems like a simple task, right? You wait at the crosswalk, hit the button a few hundred times, wait for the little white walking guy to light up, cars stop and away you go. Right? Wrong. Apparently this is intensely confusing when you climb behind the wheel of a Land Rover and strap a Blackberry to your face.

Eventually I made my way back to the shop unscathed and only a little on edge. Safe to say this is the last time I will voluntarily spend any time in Lake SuperEgo.

It's 34 degrees, work hours and a weekday, so the shop is dead. Empty. The only calls are coming fromfamily and friends. We're all getting some quality YouTubing done. I have no complaints.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

decent days and nights

The weather's turned sour for my final stand in new zealand. Clouds are easing me back into Portland winter. Raining so hard it's like being at the bottom of a lake. I'm too tired to piece together coherent sentences, paragraphs, all that nonsense, so some bullet points for you:

-Australian youth are stuck in a time vortex which keeps them pinned securely in 1984. So much neon and asymmetrical hair, it's what I imagine it would be like to be at a Wham! concert.

-Tasmania is the roadkill capital of the world.

-When you watch the news in Australia, you will hear more about the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries than you do at home. Same for New Zealand. Wall to wall coverage. Hillary Clinton is inescapable.

-Australia is brown. New Zealand is green.

-No one in Australia says "G'day." They don't throw shrimps on the barbie.

-Cricket is more important than baseball, basketball and apple pie.

-Australia has 4 weeks of national holiday. Everyone gets paid time off work. It's a tough life.

-Australian athletic development programs are 10 years ahead of ours. In the US, the cycling federations will give you support IF you can medal at a world cup. In Australia, thier federation will give you support at an early stage to MAKE SURE you can medal at a world cup. Makes sense, no?

-The minimum wage in New Zealand is $12 an hour. Healthcare is free. Gas is three times as expensive but cars are much smaller and most are diesels. I haven't seen any Escalades or Suburbans here...

-We drove 1800k in 8 days in Tasmania

-We drove 600k in 2 days at the lake last weekend


Monday, January 07, 2008

camera dump

I still can't get over how many people would come out and pay 15-20 bucks a pop to watch us race. Organizers claimed that 35,000 people came out in total for the carnivals. And we freak out about having a few hundred come out to watch AVC...

The kids in Burnie are fiends for hi-fives. They completely surround the rail, begging for fives from everyone. Doesn't matter if you're a national hero or a first time geek, they're mclovin'.

Penguin lookout just down the road from the track in Burnie. The turret looking thing is a hideout so people won't spook the birds. No penguins this time of day though, so we came up nil.

lake rotoiti. things could be worse.

searching for a pirate flag, floating towards destiny....


Sunday, January 06, 2008

the road to redonkulous

Kelyn and I used our day off during the carnivals to drive around, take pictures and make fun of things that are different.

This is a crap picture, but I felt it was my duty to show this to the world. Apparently there is a large campaign against tiredness on this side of the planet. They are not kidding.

Tasmanian beaches are the stuff dreams are made of.

have you experienced the trout experience?


Saturday, January 05, 2008


Let's play a game called "Which 4 of these are not like the others?"

Director: Len Pettyjohn

(AUS) CLARKE, Hilton
(AUS) CLARKE, Jonathan
(AUS) DAY, Benjamin
(USA) RIFFLE, Duncan
(CAN) ROLLIN, Dominique

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

the sunny side of the world; round 1

You'd need a panoramic camera to catch all the starters in a 2k wheelrace on a 580m track. these are just the scratchmen through the guys off 40m. This race started with people all the way up to 285m from scratch. The whiteshirts are all pushers, the guys with the most dangerous job out there. They have to push the riders far enough to not get confronted after the race, and then have to make a hard left or right turn to get out of the way before the riders from behind come barreling right over them. When it's riders vs. pushers, riders always win.

This is the chaos in the final turn when the scrathcmen catch the frontmarkers. This frame has one Aussie olympic team pursuiter (leading), one continental track pro (second), a Malaysian match sprinter (sixth) and aussie olympic team sprinter (sixth), a few juniors (7th and 9th) and the rest are local or mainland club riders. Little bit of everything, everyone killing it to get there first. No one's racing for 10th.

Inside the Launceston Silverdome. Motocrossers uncluded.

Latrobe. Flat, bumpy, red and surrounded by 5,000 cycling-crazy tasmanians.

Corners here aren't exactly tricky.

part 2 coming soon.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

just in time; done and dusted again

The Basslink Christmas Carnival series is officially over, and I'm now officially adrift at Melbourne International, officially a bit pissed that I'm stuck here for another 6 hours or so. Tried to sit and watch the Aussies and the Indians duke it out in the cricket match at the quiet bar, but inexplicably the bar filled with screaming kids and I was out the door before you could say "wicket."

New Year's was quite the scene. The barbie at the hostel was a massive affair for just 10 people. So much food you couldn't stand without loosening the belt buckle after it was all gone. Turned out to be a great idea, because all the small talk and "what's your name" and "where you from" and "what you doin" were taken care of well before the night began in earnest. Actually there was no jumping off point (no shots, no riotous march into town), just a steady escalation into the kind of party you wish you'd taken pictures of. No dancing, no craziness or destruction. Just 10 people spread out on couches and chairs on a huge second story outdoor balcony on top of the hostel. Beers, poker, music and the endless babble of Manchester cockney, deep western Aussie, eastern Aussie, Scottish, Tasmanian, American and Italian accents. All time Top Five lists were traded, iPod libraries were inspected and critiqued, music cranked over the whole thing and for a couple of hours life was perfect and effortless. Fireworks blasted off. I went to bed at 2 pretty sober but buzzing from something else. Something non-chemical and momentary.

The next day is Burnie. I'm tired but feeling pretty chipper, Kelyn's not showing his loss at Drinking Poker, and overall we're better off than I expected. The 150k drive to Burnie takes a while, and I browse the paper and find the article about us ("Inexperience Is No Handicap") complete with full color photo of me looking sickly and weird, Kelyn looking a bit like a gay superhero, Eugene with the 10 year-old stare and Des in the background looking vaguely unimpressed. My travel partner is
not happy. At least the words are kind. Not sure what I was expecting, but Burnie turns out to be a pretty cool little beach town built on a hill. The track is essentially on the beach, just out of reach of the tide. Lots of noise was made before the Carnival's arrival, as the city of Burnie had just dumped $50,000 on a new track surface for the outdoor 500m oval which had been delayed and delayed to the point where it was still unfinished at Christmas. I see my golden opportunity and claim the new surface for America by rolling out a first lap before anyone else can get their chamois on. Thought about peeing on it as well for good measure, but I was still a bit dehydrated from the previous night.

First words out of my mouth on my first lap: "What the f%@!, am I going uphill?"
Answer: Yes.
Remember how I said that the city was built on a hill? So is the track. It's a slight slope, but pretty noticeable on the bike as you grind through corner 1 and 2 and spin out through the downhill 3 and 4.

I'm finally feeling healed and well, and it all starts coming together for the 1k wheelrace. I start off 55 meters from scratch with the furthest rider at 175m. Gun goes off, I pull a big start and reach the frontmarkers within the first lap. Bell rings at the bottom of the hill, I make a big jump waaaaay too early and take the lead only to get passed on the line. No worries, 3 go through to the final and I end up third with a gap to fourth, so I'm a happy man. Last day and the first final of the series. Kelyn hauls off and wins his heat pretty convincingly and all of a sudden we've gone from sitting on the sidelines in Latrob with our heads smashed in thinking "what the?" after our heats to ending up 2 strong in the final. We both start the final on 55m. Kelyn's been finishing stronger and I've been starting faster, so I lead the first 500m out. BANG the gun goes and we're immediately blowing by the riders off 75, then 110, then through a big group of sketchy traffic off 140, then we're on the back straight, the bell rang 200m ago but I'm too redlined to notice, leading the whole group with Kelyn and everybody else on my wheel with 400m to go. I start to run out of steam, Kelyn panics and goes over the top a hair too early, leads until the final meter and gets pipped by two people on the line. Bastards. Either way, I'm happy. Our race clocked at 1.05 for a kilo. Ouch. We get a podium, some gas and food money and immediately feel better about this week.

As difficult and trying as it's been, we both have improved a tremendous amount. Later in the night, I end up 4th in my feature 3k heat (3 go through) but Kelyn makes it into the big money final. It's a huge hammerfest and he understandably throws in the towel when the group blasts by him with 1 to go and we pack up and get the hell out of Tasmania.