Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Message to the Neighbor Dog, Sincerely, We the People

Enough is enough! You out of control, miniature voice box, mutt-like, terrible, terrible creature. I like dogs with a passion. They are awesome. But I hate you. You aren't a dog, you are a squirrel with a temper problem, or a guinea pig with ADHD. Seriously, what is wrong with you?

My dog barks too. But my dog at least sounds like a dog when she barks. If you sound like a dog, then it is acceptable to bark every once in awhile. Maybe when there is an intruder trying to break into your house, or when a polar bear is attacking your family. Then bark. But not you neighbor dog, you loud, obnoxious, bark at the wall dumb, shoebox with barking abilities. Go away! Seriously, you need to leave.

Really though, do you have OCD? What's wrong with you? Don't you get tired of barking all day? Don't you get tired of sounding like a rusty seagull sneezing through a vocoder? Are you trying to set some sort of Ripley's Believe it or Not record about the most noise created by a creature smaller than one water bottle? Do you think you're intimidating, or are you trying to prove something? What are you compensating for?

At least bark at something meaningful, like me when I break into your house to put a muzzle on you. Or Steve when he throws a pillow at you. In the nicest way possible, I hope that you eat an entire jar of crunchy peanut butter and lose all ability to produce noise.

Thank you very much, and maybe I can finish my essay now.


We the People

Friday, May 25, 2012

Preparing for S2S

That's right! This year I finally caved and am doing Ski to Sea. For those of you outside the know, S2S is the Olympics. Of Bellingham. Since I finally decided to become a patriot, I also finally decided to do S2S.

Ski to Sea is a adventurous relay race that has two different types of skiing, a run, a road bike, a canoe, a mountain bike, and a sea kayak. It starts somewhere in the snow on Mt Baker and finishes in Fairhaven. Then Bellingham goes crazy into a city-wide party celebrating our abilities to travel 100 miles by something other than cars. Speaking of which, there are teams that are doing S2S weekend entirely car-free. Props to those teams, but y'all are crazy. This includes coming up from Everett via bike, towing canoes and stuff like that. Yeah, I'm going to get a ride to my start.

Since you all are curious, I'm doing the running leg. I really like to run in my spare time. My favorite part about running is how you don't go very fast and your legs and feet and ankles and back and arms and nose and personality and spirit hurt after running for just one minute. Which is why I just quit running and am going to do the road bike leg. To each his/her own.

Now here is the unique part. The road bike leg is basically how you get from the snow to the lowlands for the canoers to do their thing. I've said it many times before, I'm no meteorologist or geologist, but my basic knowledge of weather patterns is that the higher elevations have more chance of snow. That means to escape this, I must go downhill.

It is a 40 something mile (I should really figure this out) TT with a large portion of it being slightly downhill. The profile looks something like:
                                                                                         `  ` ` - - - - - - ^ `
                                                                                                                        \ ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `  ` ` `

That is my best analysis of the course. You can use TT bikes, drafting is legal, aero wheels are necessary, my bottle will be filled with Hammer Monster energy drink, and I will NOT touch my brakes on the 2% downhill sections. Here is where things get very interesting. The only rules are that you can't use headphones and your bike can't be motorized. INSERT TACTICS HERE!
  • 14 bottles filled with coins. Since that would be more money than I have, I'll be filling bottles up with sand or dirt.
  • I have been working for like, 2.5 years to build a Red Bull build-your-own-flying-machine type fairing for my TT bike. I figured that if I attached some wings to the top tube, the likelihood that I will legitimately take off the ground and fly is quite good. 
  • I'm going to wear tall socks. TAKE THAT UCI!
  • Using only plastic wrap soaked in Lemon Pledge (light/wind slippery) (and packing tape), I've created a way for me to be one with my bike. That's right. No longer am I a separate entity to my bike. I will be wrapped up in the plastic to my bike in the most aerodynamically efficient way possible. Someone please wait for me at the finish with a knife so you can cut me out of the wrap. Thanks. (This is similar to the following picture- except cooler (style wise, I'll be EXTREMELY warm wrapped in a saran wrap body suit. Getting skinny!), cheaper, and faster) And yes, I did just use a parentheses inside of a parentheses. Grammar-ception.        

 If you like running, sorry.  I'm too soft for that. Speaking of being soft, ever since breaking my chest my music tastes have changed 180ยบ. I'm pretty sure that when the sternum broke inwards, it pushed my heart outwards, making me more sensitive and emotional. 

I'm not saying that listening to music like this makes someone soft, but I'm just saying compared to the last music video that I was in, this is quite different for me.

me rapping

Monday, May 21, 2012

Get Rich Schemes #9

First things first, I updated my cover photo. I figured it was time to use a different picture than one of me in a race that I ended up crashing in. It (Hammer) Fizz what it is. Thanks to http://www.Winger316studios/Wingfieldproductions.Gov for the photos and thanks to myself for putting it together all fancy huh. Let me know what you think.

Things are getting real. I mean this not in the sense that I've finally secured that initial investor for all of my get rich (sensationally amazing) ideas, but in the sense that I have another plan on how to get rich. Everyone who knows anything about me, or everyone who knows anything about bike racing, knows that I spend an un-quantifiable amount of time driving places. Like, 1000 hours a week or something like that. This is fine when you roll in style in Sprinter Vans, Jetta TDI's, and 1993 Toyota Camry's, but often I yearn for more. I don't mean that I would rather drive around in different cars, but I strive for accessories that make driving more efficient, safer, more pleasant and less time consuming.

My last couple of car-related Get Rich Schemes (here and here) have involved two different aspects of driving. One touched on the actual road that you drive on, and the other was a way to remove some potential road rage in a wondrous way. I'm now going to take us down a different path. Unlike the previous driving Get stanky Rich Schemes, this one is somewhat more productive. Instead of hinting at fear like idea one or passive aggressive LOL'ing like idea two, this idea aims at helping those poor souls confused with their lives. This idea is a genuine pat on the back for those drivers lost without direction, driving with no purpose. Hey you genuine road-hazards, this one's for you babe.

I introduce you to..........


That's right. A simple mechanism that is integrated into your car's speedometer, this device incorporates road data from speed signs and compares that to your current speed. It then projects a friendly message X amount of feet up the road. Confused, let me paint you a picture of examples.

You are driving your Red 1997 VW Beetle on I-5 heading Northbound. You are listening to Shakira blast out of your EXPENSIVE 6-cd disc changer (the other albums are the Beastie Boys License to Ill, Kanye West's College Registration, Arcade Fire's The Suburbs, Weird Al Yankovic's cd that made him money for some reason, and finally, You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban). You just had a wonderful weekend with your friends and are heading back home. You cross into the 70mph speed limit zone outside of Marysville and gradually increase your speed to 70.8 mph. Just driving, having a good time while your hips don't lie. Taking a sip of your latte, you come across a green Honda Civic going much too slow in ANY lane. For the purpose of this story, you are in the center lane, there is a hooligan party in the left lane, and the right lane is filled with truckers. Glancing down at your pearl white and shiny dashboard, you now see that you are going 64mph. This is dangerous, inconvenient, and annoying. But you are a people person. You believe in people and you believe that people are genuinely good. Unlike that book Lord of the Flies where ish gets cray and there is nothing that the fat kid named Piggy can do about it.

But what do you do? You aren't going to tailgate, screaming angrily and flashing your lights. You aren't going to abruptly change lanes, causing a chain reaction of braking in the fast lane. You were going 70.8 mph. You belong (with me, you belong with meeee) in the center lane.

Here is where Laser Speed Lights comes in. Since you love people, the only explanation is that this person DID NOT NOTICE the speed limit change! They are genuinely unaware that they are being a road hazard by driving much too slow in a fast speed limit. They are sitting in their car, thinking that they are speeding at 64 and that the rest of the drivers on the road are crazy speed maniacs. You must let them know somehow!

With Laser Speed Lights, you can politely inform that slow moving car in front of you that the speed limit has changed. Projecting a "Speed Limit: 70, your speed 64" sign in front of them in bright red lights will let them see that they missed something important! Then, any human being speeds up. It's like when people see the speed signs that tell you how fast you're going. You see that, and are either "wow, I'm a BAMF. 41 in a 35, take that society!", or you see that, SLAM ON YOUR BRAKES and go 35 for about 12 seconds until you are past the signed, then accelerate again to 41. Either way, there is some sort of reaction. The goal behind this product is to give people the opportunity to speed up before you unleash the sarcasm gun.

The real exciting part about this is how it works. You get a large lever installed on your dash, similar to an airplane. It is very difficult to push and gives off a satisfying noise when you push it up. Then, two LED projectors appear from your roof rack, projecting a 5ft by 5ft box with the necessary information in front of the car that needs to know their speed, and VOILLA.

Traffic solved again.

You're welcome.

Since people are so willing to pay a 520 toll to avoid traffic, why don't you invest in this instead? That way you don't have traffic anywhere instead of just that one bridge from Seattle to MI.

Only 6 bills.

($100 dollar bills).

(For all you concerned with abuse of power, it is smart and takes the data from the road signs so you can't tell someone that the speed limit is 120 mph. Unless it actually is. Also, the smiley faces show the person that you aren't being mean and are a nice, well dressed, Shakira listening, VW driving, sensitive superior-Samaritan).

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tour De Grove

Welcome to Nellyville, where all newborns get a half-a-mil, son gets a tan deville, soon as he can reach the wheel. And ALL get diamonds the size of their age. E-I

Turns out that this song is entirely true. St. Louis: Big fights, Fitz Rootbeer, people getting escorted out of restaurants by police officers, three bike races, real live dinosaurs, the SECOND best zoo in the states, the STD capital of the world (actually the 5th in the states), home of Nelly, and a host house with zero pets. These are all things that NEVER HAPPEN but actually in reality they happen at least once. More on this later.

Steve, David, Danny and myself journeyed to the Mid-West for some good ol' fashioned crit racing. What I mean by this is that we wore wool jerseys, cut-off jean shorts, hairnet helmets, and had Albert Pujols' baseball cards in our spokes. About mid-week leading into this Tour De Grove weekend, I decided to man-up about the... injuries... that I got at JMSR. With about 4 feet of Kinesio tape strategically wrapped around my upper body, the ribs and sternum were doing allright so I had a good couple days of training and went into this weekend feeling... rested.

I love adventure, and we were greeted by adventure. First part of this adventure? We were due to land in St. Louis around %:#) (that's code for 5:30) and we raced that evening at 9:15 ( (:!$ ). For non-mathletes that left us with less than four hours to get picked up at the airport, go to host housing, build bikes, ride to race, race, then not sleep for SEVERAL hours. This adventure involved transportation. However, score one for our hosts. They brought three cars to pick us up. Adventure OVER. With three cars, we were able to get four bike boxes into 2-door Accords and Mazda Miatas and roll.

Before I talk about bike racing, let us peruse through the rest of the trip for exciting details. I think I was karmically rewarded for missing "the best trip ever" last weekend (Dana Pt). I say this because overall, this was a pretty great trip: Cool hosts/host housing, entertaining flights, proper television viewing, fist fights, good races, TWO different Mexican food establishments, lots of down time, and again, NELLY.


That will be the last time I mention Nelly in this post. But if you want to go and take a ride with me, because it's getting hot in herrre, you'd know that I am number one, and that two= not a winner, and three nobody remembers. Because you know this, good gracious, that a$$ is bodacious AND I'm going down down baby yo street in a range rover. Nelly's highschool was in sight of our housing! Wow!

Some other highlights I'd like to share are as follows: Cool TV, The Office, Step Up 2, Fitz's, Dinosaurs, dangerous activities and mustaches.

Cool TV-
One of few TV channels at our housing. This is not a bad thing, because Cool TV has everything you'd need. It's like MTV used to be when I was 7, except with stranger music and Beyonce songs that no one has heard of.

The Office-
Over the course of the weekend we watched one complete season of The Office. This also marks the most Office that I've ever watched, and my theory that it's funnier while watching with other people stands true, because I did my fair share of giggling.

Step Up 2-
Infinitely better than Step Up 1. We finished crit racing Friday night and got back to host housing around 11. After eating, we were of course not even close to tired, so our hosts suggested/forced/made us watch Step Up 2. I'm glad we did because I learned many lessons from this movie. Lesson one, follow your dreams. Lesson two, take it to the streets. Lesson three, use your clothes as props while dancing. Lesson four, the soul of a person is not defined by their metaphorical relationships within the educational system, yet by the creation of dual-personas reinforced by anti-stereotypical messages within that of a greater common goal.

WORLD FAMOUS ROOTBEER. That is all. Steve cornered extremely dangerously then sprinted his brains out for a prime on Friday that won him some gift certs to this Fitz's place. We went there on Monday, and Steve ruined the progress that he has made by only eating vegetables for the past month.

We were just riding along and Danny was attacked. These were roaming around in a park so naturally we visited.

Dangerous activities-
There was a fight in the street outside of our host house! There was probably 6 guys circled around two guys fighting. Our host was about to run outside to try and break it up, which we didn't think was a good idea. So instead she called the police. Then we learned awhile later that she is a fourth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I think she probably would've handled herself just fine. That'd be like someone trying to rob Floyd Mayweather on the streets. Surprise!

Well, this happened-

Meaning that Danny's LA Kings Playoff mustache continues to thicken.

Ok back to bike racing real quick-

We did that, three times.

Friday- Loop de Loop Gp

Advertised as 5 corners? But really only three, this was a dark, poorly lit, bumpy festivus. I felt terrible, Danny and David were involved in crashes, and Steve won that previously mentioned Fitz's prime. On the positive note, David got 20th, which was TEN DOLLARS of prize money!!!! On to the next one.

Saturday- Tour De Grove

The big money bike race of the weekend. We were all very active, I was in a move that I thought FOR SURE was the right one, but then we got caught much to soon for my liking. Then I was involved in a crash with 4 to go, got in the pit, got back in the race, had Danny tow me to the front with two to go, fought for position, and then was involved in a crash on the last lap! Steve and Danny were also slowed down by the crash.

Sunday- Dutchtown Classic

I really like this course, it's decently long and has a kicker climb of a finish straight that makes it pretty difficult. Danny spent the first twenty minutes doing things like winning primes and riding in breakaways and getting his name tweeted, so I thought I should do the same. I followed this up by spending the middle portion of the race riding in breakaways, getting SECOND on two primes (which by the way means nothing except for the fact that I'm the loser in this situation) and NOT getting my name tweeted. Then my break group was caught, and the move that countered ended up being the move that stayed away. Luckily, our teams smallest member pedaled his way into that move and ended up fifth on the day. Nice riding Steve! And continuing with my trend of late, I went down in a crash with two to go, ending any chances of sprinting. Luckily I landed directly on top of someone, so no damage for me!

Then, since it was HOT and we were extremely dehydrated (I drank two bottles during the crit while Danny had ONE SIP OF WATER) we stopped for slurpees on the way home. This was needed, since with riding to and from the race we were doing a 3.5 hour day.

So an alright weekend for us. I think we're really clicking on riding as a team and helping eachother out, and it's only a matter of time before we crack something good.

We'll try again at Tulsa Tough in a couple of weeks.

Thanks again to our hosts Carrie and Claire.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Making trades

When you're a kid, your baseball card collection says a lot about you. If everything is messily thrown into a shoebox, you don't have much respect for the cards. There is much to respect about baseball cards: Their glossy faces, sharp edges, and crisp colors ; their statistics and pictures ; and their symbolism. Baseball cards represent a passion for something. They represent a deeper connection with something as simple as a sport. They allow for kids to be part of the game. If your baseball card collection is organized into folders and sleeves, categorized by alphabet or team, player or position, you have respect for the game and for the cards. And if you didn't have baseball cards, that meant that you had friends. Kidding. What do your cards represent?

At JMSR I crashed. This is not new news, but a type of news that you already knew (I just wanted to say new knew news nooze). I was pretty messed up, but did the 115 mile race the next day (also crashed again). The following morning I tried to race the crit, but it was too much. I needed to breathe, and I could not.

I found out yesterday that I have two broken ribs, a bruised lung, and a bruised/maybe broken sternum. Until about one hour ago, I was planning on racing the Dana Point GP in California this Sunday. I went riding, did an interval, crushed the watts, raised the heart rate.... then promptly stopped doing intervals.

I'd like to think that I'm pretty tough. One time in P.E class in school I broke my toe in a violent soccer collision with the class nerd and CONTINUED PLAYING! Then I walked home, went to the hospital, followed by several weeks spent walking around in a boot. This might have been the day that I decided hospital visits are for sissies*. What I'm getting at with this story is that metaphorically, bike racing is nothing but P.E. soccer. Really though, bike racing is the greatest thing ever. It's just like when you go to school with the sole purpose of getting to play dodgeball in gym class. And to eat a spicy chicken burger in the school cafeteria. I figured that shit, if I can deal with the pain, I can do the bike racing thing.

*I don't condone this behavior

Four minutes into my first five minute interval of my ride today, I was riding where I should be power wise. I was stomping the pedals, but a strange sensation was creeping through my body. Starting in my lips, resting in my chest, crawling down my back and towards my toes, and circulating back to tighten slowly, strongly and sharply in my chestal region. I coughed and spewed this away, trying to overcome the inevitable. My legs felt strong, and I celebrated the snot running out of my nose, dripping down my face and over my shoulders like a bulldog drooling before a huge feast. I haven't been able to blow my nose in several days because of, the ya know, the ribs.  As my heart rate climbed (strangely enough the breathing pain increased with every increase of BPM , hmm) I prepared myself for the final 30 seconds of the interval- an all out sprint till failure. I tend to pull hard on my right hand first as I'm getting out of the saddle. This is similar to an archer pulling back the string on their bow. If you pull that string with the right hand, you will always pull with that right hand. I took 1.8 pedal strokes and sat down, calling the interval off.

I hate exaggeration. Which is why I'm not going to tell you about how I spent the next several minutes of my ride looking for bullet wounds in my body from what I'm sure was a drive-by shooting. Short story short, I could not do any sprinting, nor any accelerating. Long story short, 20 minutes after my ride I felt worse than I did before riding.

If you're wondering, my baseball cards were sleeved, foldered, and sorted by position. Within each position, I organized the cards by my favorite player in that sub-topic. Organization within organization. Snacks on snacks. Baseball cards and the sport of baseball were my life as a u-13 year old. Now, bike racing is my life. I didn't keep my cards in a shoebox, because I loved the sport. Now I don't have folders or sleeves, organization methods and favorite players, but I do have a similar respect.

Sure, I could go to Dana Point. I could deal with the pain, I could sit in and let the race happen around me (something I hate), and I could try and do some form of seated gimp sprint for 20th. I would be no help to my teammates, I would be no factor in the race, and I would not feel good about my performance. I love bike racing. I want next weekend, and the weekends following that to be bike races. Not fast bike rides with groups. It sucks to pull the plug on a race that I was looking forward too, but out of respect for the sport and for my body, I'm going to stay home. And sleep.

I don't actually know if baseball cards can in any way be related to bike racing. Sorry if you're confused, just try thinking about it as pokemon cards instead. That will help.