Entries in family (67)
Merry Christmas! What a picturesque day here in The Reepoobleek. It went from 20 degrees in the AM all the way to 50 degrees yesterday. But the mercury corrected itself today to a steady 20 degrees and snowing. It made for a very Bing Crosby-esque day.
On the bike tip, Santa knew that I am STILL with numbness in the very tips of my big toes still after the CX States earlier this month. While getting better, he knew that I needed some legit stuff to combat the cold gremlins, and so the stocking was stuffed with all the kindness one could hope for:
New Swix gloves, woolie socks and tons of these adhesive heat packet things Troy made a recommendation to get.
I used all of this new stuff today on my run and holy crap they work. In fact, it melted the snow off my shoes! It is the real deal and I wish I had them before States! They will be packed for Belgium fo' sure.
So now, we're just chilling in a sort of post present opening haze/hangover. Incredibly fun this AM with the boys being as old as they are now. I wish you and all of yours the absolute best Christmas!
Thanks for reading.
Back in May, I started za plan. On that very first day, I installed a brand new set of bomber Ritchey Fortress training tires. Yesterday, I finally retired those puppies before they explode on a 50mph descent. I held these things in my hand for a bit sitting in my garage, late at night, after Boups swung by with beers in tow.
This led me to thinking...
Anything can happen. You can not stop what is coming....and what is coming, good or bad, is absolutely equivalent to what you set in motion in the universe, years, months, days....even seconds before.
Balance and forethought.
I'm a little worn out. Not unlike that Fortress' tread. I've ranted enough over the last moths about this. It is what it is. But, I'm happy to say I'm getting signals back from the universe that things will be OK. The conversations last night with old friends were life changing. Words were spoken, words were heard...but the words were carefully listened to.
Note the difference.
Today, for instance, was the first time in many many many months that I woke up with a smile. It was totally noticeable to me. I sprang out of bed. This is in opposition to most mornings when I feel a ghost fever, my eyes crack open and the first blurry sights they see are of my night stand and a BlackBerry's red light spastically blinking...remind me that Groundhog's Day is about to replay itself.
None of this has to do with bikes. Everything I speak of however, will have an effect in biking, how I father, how I love, the type of friend I can be, the level of depth I need to be at as a professional. Obviously not in any particular order. A universal and holistic wrapper that has re-cased my brain from the eroding cancer to absolute hope. God that feels good.
Tired of me yet? I am not apologizing. Dig deep into your own condition. Your own situation. Your own motivation.
I am doing what I can to correct and find it. I think I opened my eyes to something that is not blinking red.
November 28th, my faithful M & C readers, this blog celebrates its one year anniversary. Man, what the _ _ _ _ happened to the year!? Where has it gone?!?! I was checking in on Radio Freddy's a few days ago and noticed his beautiful site's one year anniversary which reminded me to look back in the annals for that very first post. Holy crappola! November 28th 2006!
What M & C is, is nothing more that an electronic scratchpad I wanted to start as a personal journal. That's what blogs are, right? So I made it into sort of a day to day thing documenting my experiences on quasi daily basis of what being a husband, daddy, worker and bike racer is about from the balance perspective....with the intent that come hell or high water, I would get my ass to Belgium...going to church so to speak...to experience what 'cross really is.....or maybe I know what it is and want to know from where it came. Whatever the case, more often than not, it was a place to digitally scream to something. Unfortunately you are all the victims of my rants and absolute psychoticness.
But, crazy psycho episodic rants aside, EVERY single good thing in my life from the time I was 5 years old derived from bikes, cross included and hopefully this Belgium goal a continuing extension of it. Literally, everything is linked together through bikes for the last 30+ years in this sort of beautiful unfolding tale that I am also enamored with when I reflect on it:
- Learn how to ride a bike at Ted Stoica's 4th birthday party, 1975
- Get my own bike in kindergarten that year and begin my obsession.
- Create a bike gang of 5-8 year olds. We are the Thunderbirds.
- Start dirt jumping with the T-birds Evil Kneivel style in elementary school
- Learn to race BMX (decently) and ride ramps (badly) in middle school in the early 80's and gt my first racing license (an NBL license if you remember that!). Eddie Fiola is my hero.
- Learn dad gets job transfer summer before I start high school in mid 80's. Parents bribe me with a Shogun racing 10 speed because this guy Greg Lemond is doing things over there in Europe and "10 speed bike racing" is getting cool.
- The Shogun gathers dust while I revert back to my GT Pro Performer and start riding around the streets of NJ and BMX again becomes a proxy for meeting new peeps
- Race more, jump more meet absolutely CORE people.
- Go to college in the late 80's and learn about this thing called 'mountain biking'. I learn its a big BMX bike.
- Drink incredible amounts of Piels and Gennesee Light and get fat.
- Get inspired by Chris by senior year to go and ride ride ride
- Graduate and flounder and move to Cape Cod, get my own MTB and ride every day. No shirt, no helmet, Hi-Tech hiking boots. I get tan and get back to some fitness.
- Finally get embarrassed enough that I need to get a job, move back from the Cape and find one in NYC. I slave all week and blow out the weekends up and down the East Coast racing MTB's
- Grow the obsession. Start buying magazines with pretty pictures of radsters in CA riding insane MTB's reading them cover to cover on the subway to and from work and.
- Start using this thing called the internet in the mid 90's and find this bike guy in CA called "Rock Lobster" and get info on his bikes.
- Get obsessed with Rock Lobster and Bontrager bikes and decide California is the place I ought to be so I loaded up the truck and I move to Beverly...er ah...SF
- Move to SF, buy a Rock Lobster (actually many...) and find Mecca in Marin and Santa Cruz and meet a group of people who are literally family now...with no less than THREE marriages spawned by our group meeting an connecting
- Then meet my beautiful (now) wife. We ride into the proverbial sunset....
- Race more, work more, grow more and learn of something called 'cross in 96.
- Meet the most amazing bike freaks and they become brothers and sisters.
- Cross more. Including wearing a dress while doing so.
- Procreate and yield two little Irishmen.
- Decide that Boulder might be a better place to raise them thar kids (that being the guise for a better 'cross scene) and we made a decision in a weekend and move.
- Meet the most amazing bike freaks and they too become brothers and sisters...
So Belgium. Now do you see? It's like No. 25 on this growing list of things that have so expanded and enriched my life and those around me. It also was a goal to help me laser focus on something during this year...a year I KNEW would be turbulent and it materialized that way. Remember that scene in Star Wars (the original one....not the computer animated shit), when Luke is in the X Wing and needs to drop that bomb in that tunnel to blow up the Death Star and the commander over his head set is shouting "Stay on target...stay on target...". Well, that's what Belgium has been. Belgium (or the promise of getting my act together to go was that little control tower voice helping me to push day by day...for bad or for worse. Creating new channels in the universe and exposing me to what I hope will be the truth about our sport.
I will be sure to blog it.
Thanks for reading. Thank you my beautiful wife for this experience.
I think it is time. Time for me to act like a cyclist again and crank up the monastic life I was leading up to approximately 11:56PM last night.
The evening began with a lovely dinner with best friends. The cocktails were flowing as were the conversations and laughter.
After the food epic and with a few liquid golds put back, someone said the word:
Oh, God, the ugliness factor was high. We made our way over to the only gig in town and walked in amongst the true people of Spokane. The proverbial record basically scratched when we walked in the door. But after a few more liquid golds and whipping out my best Space Oddity, the crowd was mine.
The requests for encores came flooding in and of course I had to respond. It was essentially the American Idol for Idiots with me as the star pitted against Cristina The Lesbian and Chester the Vietnam Vet. A veritable battle of the stars. We rocked into the wee hours trading songs like bullets. Cristine throwing out some Indigo Girls, Chester with some Brick House and me with some classic faves. In the end, my wife witnessed me get picked up by the local Harper Valley PTA lady and I was the clear favorite for the lesbian contingent, out muscling their patron Cristina.
To the winner goes the spoils...
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope everyone is getting their turkey on. Mmm. Protein. We're with our best friends in a cold and very scenic Spokane. The kids are going off playing with each other and our ladies are dialing a mad feast.
Joe and I took the white bullet (Roxy the yellow lab) out for a run in this awesome trail network directly behind Joe's house. It is like the most perfect little short track course I have ever seen. I think Joe needs to run some underground races here.
We've been drinking the Belgie suds, laughing our asses off and having a great time. Joe and I of course have been glued to the hi fi watching the latest rounds of DVDs (Ruddervoorde and others) from the 07 season with Chimay's in hand. Awesome. Enjoy the feasts everyone!
Well, it had to happen some time. Paradise needed to remind itself that it does in fact situate itself in the mountains. The pow pow came down last night after a final couple of days of absolute beautiful days in the sun.
The boys and girls will likely cross today...somewhere. 29'ers replacing cross bikes through the snow. Maybe Poormans, maybe long dirt road rides in place of parks and barriers.
Mr. KP sent me the latest on Master's Worlds (yes, I am STILL going!):
U.C.I WORLD MASTERS
CYCLO-CROSS CHAMPIONSHIPS 2008
SATURDAY 19th JANUARY 2008
ZILVERMEER MOL - BELGIUM
CATEGORIE DISTANCE START
Men (1943 and older) 30’ 10.03hr
Women (1958 and older) 20’ 10.02hr
Women (1959-1968) 25’ 10.01hr
Women (1969-1978) 30’ 10.00hr
Men (1944-1948) 30’ 11.02hr
Men (1949-1953) 30’ 11.01hr
Men (1954-1958) 30’ 11.00hr
Men (1959-1963) 40’ 12.00hr
Men (1964-1968) 40’ 13.00hr
Men (1969-1973) 40’ 14.00hr
Men (1974-1978) 40’ 15.00hr
Have an enjoyable T-giving everyone! We'll be with some of the best friends we know on this earth, as they begin their journey to move back to the Bay Area. Turkey and Beer. Lots of 'cross talk. No riding but running.
What an inexplicable release. My dear friends, some new souls met, my single speed and deliciously epic, tight and twisty technical single track...at night...in a tunnel of light.
At work today, my head came close to exploding no less than 4 times. I literally was calculating what the anuyerysm woudl feel like when it happens. I was sort of hoping it woudl be quick and not hurt a lot. By 4:30 I am watching my watch. I'm in an executive meeting. We are announcing major changes and I all I am thinking of is that that I need to get going 'cause I am going to be late for hooking up with my boys! Joe is flying in from Spokane and Brian has a huge crew assembled including the awesome duo from Yeti, Ariel and Abby, former Boulderites now calling Santa Cruz their home and working for the Tribe.
We assembled at the Java Hut in downtown Fairfax CA....the Boulder of the West. I got there a 1/2 hour late and then Joe rips into the parking lot, family in tow, moments later, fresh out of Oakland Airport. Bri and the crew patiently waited for us for 45 minuets and Joe and I got ready and we jammed before 7PM. Team Yeti has bikes prepared for everyone, but I am going to roll the 1 x 1. I just love my own bike as tempting as those ASR's and 575's were....
We climbed and ripped Tamarancho and then traversed up and over into terrain I've never been on. Let's just say this was 'unmarked'.
Epic, cherry, technical single track. The tight and obscenely twisty stuff that you dream about....at night in a tunnel of light. An utter release after a week of mental torture. My dearest friends....my family in the Bay Area communing on the tight and twisty.
I miss you.
These last 4 days have my head spinning....
~Seeing family and old friends shows me how they...and I...have changed and life is not infinite but 50 years of marriage shows me that love can be.
~NYC is not the same City I once lived in. It's soft. There is no edge any longer.
~My work world showed me how quickly things can degrade for some people I've known and trusted for ages....and showed me what can occur if you do not make the right decisions.
~I'm home now and peering into my sons bedrooms tonight, they seem older. They're changing. Please stay the way you are my sweet boys. Show me again and again and again how you just learned how to ride a bike. Stay there for a little while longer.
I will lay my head on my pillow tonight and I will sleep soundly while I shouldn't. The past 4 days are in the front lobe of my brain firing synapses at such a furious pace I can almost physically feel them firing. Last night was restless. Hotel restlessness from being away from my loves and dealing with all this unrequested life education I just witnessed the last four days. The kind of restlessness where your eyes are open at 2 in the morning and you whip the covers off, drop your feet to the floor and put your head in your hands, the brain all tangled in knots in what if scenarios, contingency plans, the future, what's next, am I ready, will I do the right thing for my family, why isn't there a real crystal ball.
After learning most of the 'education' on Monday, I needed to suffer. Turn my mind on to channel zero and make the brain see nothing but channel zero's snow for a while. The suffering tends to make all life's noise stop....or turns it into 'white noise' as in snow on the television. I strapped on the shoes and got myself to Central Park on an epically beautiful evening. Clear blue skies, trees exploded in mad color. Commencing the run, channel zero could not be tuned in. 1/3 my brain was in overdrive thinking through things I've just learned while another 1/3 is causing me to half-smile as my eyes are seeing old treasures in the Park I haven't seen in years. Trails we used to poach and certain rocks we used to huck ourselves off of on big hit slalom bikes with Night Sun's blaring through those same trails during many nights, many years ago. the last 1/3 of my brain knows that this weekend 'cross is coming and for once I smiled about it while on the road....when typically it' s a stress. No more. Racing is racing and it's my salvation and cleansing from reality. My run through the park's single track made me feel like I was riding and that balanced the thrashing going on in my brain. I hopped trees like barriers until the legs were cached and I could go back to the anonymous hotel into my anonymous room and think some more.
I'm home. I'm lucky.
....and forty million miles from the sun. Or so the song goes. Perfect and ironic that it came on this AM on my shuffle as I continue putting in the work in the early morning air. Yesterday was still felt in my legs but the air was crisp and the determination was there. Beautiful. I threw the leg over the bike, hit play and rolled. The ride tore upon the healing muscles that helped me at least take back 11 places as I watched the race roll away. It was needed.
At the top of Lee Hill the song came on and the lyrics spoke to me. Again smiles. Did it fall apart before it all began? Easy to let the mind pour gasoline on itself and commit suicide. Rolling in the garage, my son heard the door rumble open. He comes flying out with a pair of ridiculously old Oakleys....no lenses.
"Did you not crash and win daddy?! Can we ride now!?"
What can I do? I'm the luckiest man on earth. Just stuck between the green grass and forty million miles from the sun.