Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Here we GO!

Everyone. I like bikes. Ok, now we're all up to date.

I've been all "shhhh" and "hushhhh" and other ways to use lots of the letter 'h' over the last couple of months as I hint and poke at what goes on inside of my noggin. It's December, next year is soon, and more and more details are becoming undetailed (is that a thing?), so why don't we kick off the unveiling and discuss how funny I think it is that I am getting "Taylor Nation" emails. Ever since I won the award for best choice ever to buy tickets and go to the Taylor Swift concert, I've been getting emails. No one is complaining.
Did anyone try to click that? Oh man it would've been so smart to link that somewhere but I couldn't be bothered.

Yeah, I'm stalling.

OK!!!!! I ride my bike every day. Some things are still very, very foreign to me as my head and body are forced into relearning and readapting to my new new. That's fine though as the pure joy of cycling is still completely there. Pretty early on I learned that I felt way safer and more comfortable riding on the dirt, and complete with a new MTB I started to ride more and more trails and quiet roads, with no sensory overload to worry about- instead breathing deeply at the peacefulness of the woods. When riding in the woods, I don't have to worry about a car buzzing me, the feeling of my tires at 20mph, or flatting through a corner at 30. There's a lot to think about on the road, (the dirt too!) and with that my confidence and trust in my abilities is changed. One of the main reasons that road racing is a no-go for me in the 2016 season is that I don't trust myself. The other 150 people + pavement + high speeds is a main factor, but I'm a different bike rider now too.

But I can't go away.

Evidenced by me racing a full cross season this year, riding my bike every day, doing intervals, and having my "I'll NEVER train in the rain again" attitude last for a total of zero rides. Bikes have done too much for me and although I've been forced to reevaluate what they mean, they still have meaning.

In 2016 I'm entering some new lands. I've never ridden my mountain bike longer than two hours. In 2016, I'm signed up for the......

I had this crazy idea awhile back to start doing things on a bike that I would have NEVER DONE as a serious road racer. This got started by riding what felt like an entire day on Hwy 20 with my friends Andy and Josh. I learned on that ride that sometimes going fast for 60 minutes isn't the only thing that is important on bikes, and there are many ways to challenge yourself on a bike.

Then I started researching.

I'm super excited to have the High Cascades 100 be a big part of my Endurance MTB season, but you better believe that since I have only ridden a mountain bike two hours at a time, I'll be prepping for the 100 by doing......


Besides going out and mountain biking many minutes, I also will be experiencing a... different... use of bikes than I am accustomed to. Last September Steve F, Chris W and I went to Winthrop to do a Gran Fondo. There we teamed up with some guys from the Keller Rohrback team and conquered one of the coolest rides that I have ever done.

Photo: WingerStudios
We were the first group in this "race", but after spending 7 hours riding through wind-torn and fire-burnt terrain, we all crossed the line together, forgoing a grand sprint and instead basking in the glory of the bike and the ride. And then we ate pizza. I need more of that! In 2016, many of my big training rides will be in the form of the Vicious Cycle Gran Fondo series. These give me the opportunity to explore new places, ride fun roads on a well-marked course, and tackle a challenge with friends.

LONG mountain bike races and Gran Fondos. I would have scoffed at the idea of these in 2014, but 2016 is the year of the dirt so scoff away!

I've got some more to talk about involving the aforementioned stuff, but this post is long. I'll keep some undetailing (is that the word that I used earlier?!?) happening over the next couple of days, but for now I'll leave you with a small taster:

Actually, I should have been saying dedetailing instead of undetailing. I regress.

Oh, right, your clue!

Friday, November 13, 2015

First of the news

Hey, things are starting to become more final! I've been working on some stuff that I'm really excited about and I should have enough information and direction in the next bit to share with y'all and make you excited, too! Here's a small clue:

Before I share more in a later post, let's talk about what I'm excited about right NOW that's been a bit more public and less behind-closed-curtains. For one.....

Photo: Andy Bokanev


photo from Pops! DBCphoto

CASCADIA BICYCLING TEAM!!!                                    #RideSasquatch

Before I get into more, let's talk about those two. With my Jamis contract ending and my serious road racing being more in the rearview, I wanted bikes to be for nothing but FUN. Hence joining Sasquatch, a small local team in Seattle that is made up of my friends. Easy choices! Plus, since it's about fun, if the Sasquatch dudes want to eat pizza the night before the race, heck ya I will! Pizza-legs be damned.

Cyclocross is something that I did pretty regularly when I was a silly little dirt goblin back in the day. Then I got all serious about pedaling on the road, and if I did race a cyclocross race I would do a 3-5hour... warmup.... before doing the dirt pedaling contest. Riding on the road, in a group, and pavement in general are things that are super sketchy to me still, but I need bikes. I feel completely comfortable going 10mph on dirt and I'm racing single speed to... limit... myself on how crazy I can get.

Having weekly cyclocross races has been an amazing thing for my morale, and just having that "competition" back in my life has really made my Autumn be a good one.

Oh, and on Nov. 24 (3months post accident) I got a tattoo. In that post I wrote:

"Also, you better believe that when I win again, it will be very visible in the victory salute. See that! That's being positive right there"

I'll try to win again so the tattoo is actually in the picture, but that dude in the yellow-green shirt is seeing nothing but + right there
So cyclocross is really cool and I've got a couple more races to look forward to this year. Rad!

Next on the new new:

DBCphoto. Thanks dad!
METIER RACING AND COFFEE is the new venture of the people behind HSP- a coaching and training facility that I've been a part of since I was about to start my first cat 3 season. Then I won 5 races in a row, so I guess that foreshadows.... something?

Metier is aiming to be something different and something new and cool. It's a giant space that will have: a bike shop, bike retail, yoga, gym, classes, massage and physical therapists, acupuncture, bike fitting and training for cyclists, and a full cafe serving coffees, beers and wine, food and baked goods.

After deciding that I wasn't going to continue pursuing getting paid currency for pedaling circles, I realized that I would need to make some currency appear in order to continue to, ya know, live and stuff. I spent a month or so really grumpy, frustrated, and sad at my reality as I went from complete freedom to looking for an office job. This was not OK! Sorry to Marissa that she had to deal with me while I felt sorry for myself for that month.

Metier has been in the construction/prep process for awhile, but I had pretty quickly, post the "I need a job" decision, decided that I didn't want to work in a bike shop so I had never thought Metier might be a good spot for me. Then I started to spend more time with Eric Cockrell, as he is also a dirty single speed cyclocrosser like me. Eric is the manager of the cafe side of Metier, and as I talked with him more I saw his passion in the project, learned more about the cafe, and really bought in to the idea of a space like this. I realized that although I didn't want to work in a bike shop, I emotionally needed to be around bikes but also have a step before I started to *maybe* someday work in an office (yuck).


Sorry for yelling, that's a lot of words. My bad.

But yeah, I'm a cafe employee at Metier! We open officially tomorrow, hence this post coming out, but we've been doing a lot of training, prep, and VIP parties, so we're ready to go.

Photo: Ben Lindbloom
So if you're in the Seattle area, come visit me at "work", hang out in an awesome place, and you may as well buy a coffee or beer from me and sit in our comfy chairs and watch a race on TV or something.

And yes, I passed my WA Food Handlers Permit test. Because I do in fact know that you need to wash your hands after touching raw meat.

Ok, thanks for hangin' with me.

Speaking of my finger, I'm also professional model now:

Photo: Ben Lindbloom
Come hang at cross race or at Metier Racing and Coffee! And I promise, there are a couple more really exciting things to come. Yes!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Breaking silence

Alright, so with the Jamis roster being partially released on the internets ( it's become increasingly... public... that I won't be returning to the team in 2016.

Now is as good as a time as ever to announce that I won't be returning to professional cycling for the 2016 season. I have gone through this year with the motivation of a return to the sport being what has driven me through some terribly rough times. Cycling, road racing specifically, has been my entire life and it's tough for me to say that it will no longer be what I will solely define myself as.

Since my third week in the hospital, at the UW Rehab center (where I had to relearn how to walk, shower, and think coherently), I’ve been plotting my comeback. Before I understood the gravity of my injuries, I was thinking of how I’d come back super motivated and win Redlands in 2015. I then received the news that I wouldn’t be able to ride outdoors for at least six months due to risk of re-injury, so I soldiered on, riding the trainer and rollers every day. This was agonizing and mentally awful as I was constantly being reminded of my weaknesses and inabilities. This grand picture and idea of getting back to road racing kept me setting up the trainer every day for six months.

I’ve seen four neuro specialists and one head-injury in athletes specialist. Each one of them has essentially laughed at the idea of me returning to competition. In turn, I’d laugh back at their disapproval of my passion, often selfishly noting to myself their lack-of-understanding of my sport and my skills.

The fact of the matter is that I shouldn’t be writing this right now. Based on my injuries and the severity of each specific one, the textbook “amazing” result would be survival as a paraplegic. The worse, more common, result is death. 90% of people who are victims of one of my injuries never awake from the coma. I was awake in two or three days, coherent in a week, and did a seven hour bike ride last weekend.

This is an incredible second chance, and one that regardless of my love for the sport, takes precedence over everything. I’ve had to wrestle with lots of thoughts over the past several months as I’ve come to personal acceptance with this situation. I absolutely love road racing, but I have a long life ahead of me and the enjoyment I get from racing my bike on the road does not outshine the unfortunate new risks. If I hit my head again I am in incredible danger. Racing, specifically in a pack at high speeds, is an inherently dangerous sport, and I am not willing to put my loved ones, my future goals, and myself at a lower value than the thrill that I get from road racing.

I am incredibly fortunate to have had the ability and freedom to spend my early 20s pursuing a passion that I will carry with me forever. The friends that I’ve made, places I’ve seen, and things that I’ve accomplished will always be a part of me and I am incredibly proud to have done what I did in the sport. Although not the textbook ending to my road racing story, by any means, I am honored to have been able to ride along side some incredible men throughout my racing career and I have been truly shaped by this sport.

Thank you deeply to everyone who has played a role not only through this recovery, but also in my career as a whole. If you sent me a card, reached out on Facebook, gave me well wishes and confidence in person, or read my blog- THANK YOU. This year has been incredibly challenging and I truly felt the incredible support directed towards my well being by all my friends and fans.  

The bug is too real, though, and I've been finding ways that I feel comfortable with to continue to be around bike riders, bike races, and the scene in general and I've got a lot of cool things that I've been working on and planning. I've been spending a lot of time in the dirt, and not having 150 other guys ripping around me at 40mph on pavement is a zone that feels really right and good to me now. 

This is not a guaranteed goodbye from road racing forever, but with where things are at with myself and my mind right now, I elected to not re-sign with Jamis and to not pursue professional cycling in 2016. I am forever grateful to Seba Alexandre and the Jamis family for their support this past year, and I'm excited to follow along as they stomp it in 2016. 

Thanks everyone! I've got a lot of cool stuff in the works, so stay tuned for more updates to come.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Well Overdue

This has been an embarrassingly long time between posts, especially with the whole brain surgery thing constantly looming. Well, to get to the lowest point on this story time totem pole, I'm still here and still have a functioning brain. Actually- I told a joke that I thought was on point and no one laughed.... so let's blame my surgeon on that one.

I really don't need to go too deeply into brain related topics other than that my surgeon said "let's go ahead and consider you done with brain stuff" which is a statement I can get behind pretty strongly. Let's just avoid more brain things. The surgery recovery was an odd combination of way better and way worse than I expected all with a crunchy topping of tylenol and increasing-duration walks. I'm now something like 7 weeks post-op and I feel like I've recovered well.

And a reason to why a lot of you read, I am back on the bike! So that's great! I'd be lying if I said it were without hitches, but I'm doing what I can to pedal circles because that's an awfully fun thing to go out and do. Since pictures always are more effective than words, this is the major change that I've recently done to my bike to help that darn neck work a bit better:

Me all race-ready and aero and stuff with a 130mm stem 
Just chillin' all comfortable with a 70mm stem
Make sense? Yeah, I thought so.

More changes! Have you heard of food sleeping bags? When you fill up a sleeping bag or large burlap sack with a combination of delicious flavors and textures, you then are able to consume many different things of delight at once.

That's right, world! I ate that son of a gun with my mouth and didn't even consider using a fork or a knife! After just a couuuuuuple more hours in the dentist's chair, they gave me those sweet, peaceful, serene, and gorgeous words: "k we're done go eat snacks, kewl". Wooooohoooo! If you've never eaten a burrito before, they taste good and are an eating-world experience. I've done my time practicing for this world in the past, so I had some rusty skills that needed sharpening. I've eaten ummmm several burritos in the past 10 days. Judgement free zone.

Speaking of teeth, I was pretty devastated to watch Ben Jacques-Maynes crash out of his final and record-setting Tour of California. The poor guy smashed his mouth and lost a couple teeth. In a...happy?... way, I was glad to be able to offer up some words of wisdom on delicious ways to enjoy soft or liquid foods. Secret: rice pudding is amazing and blended chicken noodle soup is not.

That photo leads in well to the next series of events, which I guess reading back over what I've written, is technically not "next" but more prior events- I've been writing in reverse chronological order. That means in Early May, plopped right in between brain surgery and dental adventures, I got the opportunity to travel to Sacramento to spend time with JJ Haedo, Carine from Jamis, Wendy from Sutter Home, and the chance to see my teammates before they kicked off the Tour of California.

It was a really unique experience for me to see what happens on the other side of fence at bike races. It was very special for me to be able to see my teammates and staff and support them how I could all while feeling the bike race vibe.

It's been a wild ride. It continues. Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hello! I did another speech

I'll get to talking about the whole recovery from brain surgery thing in my next post. We'll keep things interesting by switching topics completely for just a second so that this sentence is the only one that mentions my... medical related.... situation as of recent.

This weekend I had another opportunity to give a speech for a group of people I feel completely comfortable around. I was asked by the Marymoor Velodrome Association (MVA) to be the guest speaker at their fundraising auction. While the last speech I gave was mostly stories about me with some efforts to pass my message along thrown in as well, with this speech I wanted to be more specific.

The MVA has been a huge part of my career as a bike racer and I jumped on the opportunity to be able to give back even if just in the smallest of way as trying to entertain people before an auction. While yes- there were still stories from my time at the velodrome- I used my time limit with a pinpointed goal to: try and inspire people to bid on items, donate money, and volunteer their time to help develop the velodrome community even further.

Here's a quick sampler of the speech! Plus, I got to wear a tie. And in my world, ties are fun to wear because I read GQ magazine and don't sit in an office, daily, wearing a tie. So hooray for ties and tie bars!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Important news.

Hi friends! I have something that I need to share with you, that isn't the best nor most exciting news. I want to preface this by saying that what I need to share has an excellent result and is a much needed and lucky sequence of events that has led to me being better than ever.

I don't know how to not be painfully blunt with this, so apologies if it comes across a bit like ripping a bandaid off.

Last Tuesday, April 7th, I had brain surgery to remove a large cyst directly in the middle of my brain. I have been recovering very well and am ahead of schedule on all fronts. I spent several nights in the Neuro ICU at Virginia Mason hospital in Seattle and have been recovering at my mom's house since Friday.

When I crashed in Colorado, the Neurologists noticed a small cyst. This was deemed unimportant as there were much more immediately relevant things to focus on at the time. Six months later I had a follow up MRI to determine how my injuries were healed. The good part is that the injuries had progressed well (bike riding, yay!), but the bad news was that the cyst had multiplied 14 times in size. The neuro surgeon who cleared me to ride bikes also gave me the surgery news in that same appointment. Talk about anti-climactic! He was shocked that given the size of the cyst I wasn't experiencing any, truthfully terrifying, neurological effects.

The cyst needed to be removed, and needed to come out stat. The neuroligical effects ranged from random lightning-like headaches, to optical issues, and at the darkest level, seizures. To be able to make the decision to have the surgery before these started happening gave me an incredible sense of relief.

The words "brain surgery" are terrifying to me, but I also felt an ironic sense of luck. I knew it would be another step in my journey, but one that I absolutely needed to take. Due to the length of the surgery, my surgeon needed about three weeks to get me on the schedule. Initially, I was disappointed at this news. I wanted to do the surgery STAT so that I could start the recovery process and be back on my way. However, with the addition of bike riding, beautiful weather, and time with friends, I had a very wonderful month of March. I felt like I went into this surgery with an incredible mental state and my batteries recharged.

In Colorado in August I had my head partially shaven while I was in a coma to be able to monitor my brain activities. When I was back to being more me, I wasn't stoked with my large bald spot because I like to make sure that my hair game is always on point. I knew that for this surgery they'd have to shave a large stripe down my head, and I wasn't too excited on that part. BUT, I knew that I had the opportunity to prepare. So I went and visited my barber, Spin, and let him work his magic. The dude's a legend! There's still a small stripe, but it's nothing compared to what it could've been.

On April 7th I checked in to Virginia Mason and had a ~5 hour surgery. One thing that greatly improved my perception of this brain surgery were the methods that they would be performing the surgery by. The cyst was directly in the center, and the plan was to go in and drain that bugger. My biggest concern with brain surgery was muckin' around in any brain matter. You hear stories of people who have their brains cut into, and can't smile anymore or other things like that. With my surgery there is a path of fluid that leads directly the gland that the cyst was on. When the skull is opened, the cerebellum sags, therefore opening the channel even more. They can go entirely through the channel to get to the cyst, and there are no known side effects. This eased the greatest of my concerns.

The surgery went well, was a bit quicker than they expected, and after a couple days of around the clock supervision in the hospital, I am back to my mom's house for... around the clock supervision! I am very lucky for the care that I get.

Yesterday I was able to take my first shower, which was a big ol' delight. Before the showers, this is how I had to wash my hair! Thanks mom!

Also the longest beard I've ever had
Speaking of hair, they deemed me A)incredibly jacked, super muscular, full of muscle man in my neck, which is hilarious. And B) Incredibly hairy. SO, they shaved the wrong arm. Word. The arm they shaved ended up only having one IV and a small amount of tape, while the other, non-shaven arm had three IVs and endless tape, prime for waxing. Here's how they shaved it!:

Bowl cut!
I've known about this surgery for a couple weeks, but have been really hesitant about telling people beforehand. I don't like making things about me, and everyone I told in March was definitely mentally effected by the news. So please, if you feel as if you are a good enough friend to me that I should've told you, don't be mad. I really wanted to! I was really struggling with how to share this news in a positive manner. I wanted to share it broadly after I was well on my way through recovery, which here I am! I ate breakfast, showered, slept, and just was being awesome all day yesterday and today. Know that there are many people I wish I could've told but couldn't find a way to tell it in a way that was fair for both of us.

I'd also like to thank my team for being so understanding of my ongoing journey. I was so grateful to be able to spend last week in California with the team (more on that later!) and have continued support from the Jamis HB family. There are actually dozens of people I'd like to thank, but for now I'll make sure and thank them in person.

Thank you all, too! Sorry for this news but please believe me when I say this surgery, although terrifying (for me!), really was a great thing. I am so happy to be back on the recovery trail. The brain is an absolutely amazing thing. Love it.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Bikes are Beautiful

To continue my apparent theme of post titles, my next entry will be called "bikes are bicycles" and my next will be "bikes are cookies". I seem to be just stating things that are true and creating an image, so consider me as a painter.

I shared my excitement with you all in my last post, and I just want to reiterate how great bike riding is: it's pretty great.

I've now had a couple weeks of outdoor adventuring, and I've really been soaking in just how much bikes mean to me. This year has provided me with a lot of time to... reflect... and it's rejuvenating to bask in the bliss of bikes. Don't get me wrong, I have loved bike riding the last couple of years, and there is no profession that I would rather have ended up in. Bike racing is a different type of fun for me. I enjoy the process of training, the satisfaction of completing painful intervals, and the fun of working towards a goal. On a very rare occasion, usually when it was terrible weather, I would come back from training and tell Marissa that "bike riding was a job today". 99.9% of the time though, bikes never felt like work, and that's wonderful. The fun with bike riding as a means to improve at bike racing is still great fun, it is just a more calculated and focused glee.

The past couple of weeks, I have rediscovered the pure, child-like freedom of bike riding. It is soul healing to catch myself smiling just at the act of riding bikes. Speaking of smiling, this happened:
I could endlessly rant about the perfection of going out on bike rides, but I hope all you reading this find that. If it's tough training or a casual ride, make sure and remember that bike riding is loads of fun. Pure joy! Sure, we may also do it for other reasons, be it: for racing, weight loss, transportation, or many others; but we all started bike riding because it's fun and freeing. If you catch yourself gleefully giggling on your next ride, go ahead and blame me! That's fine.

I dropped that tooth video in there just because it fit so well with where my sentence was going, so let's hit on that world really quickly.

After ~8.5 hours in the dentist's chair, I am about 75% to done with teeth work. So that's exciting! While it may look as if I have a full mouth of teeth again, this is not the end of the dental work adventures. My ...real... fake teeth are still being manufactured, but this week I had the broken teeth prepped and this round of fake teeth put in. They're basically a mouth guard that's cemented in. With this, most of my upper teeth are now one piece. That means no flossing and no spinach getting caught up in there. That's pretty convenient! Now I can go to bed SO much faster without the flossing step in the routine!

Downside to this part of the fake teeth world is that although I have objects there in my mouth, I still need to eat as if I didn't have anything there. So no sandwiches, apples or burritos YET, but soon! When I get the real ones in here at some point in April, I'll definitely be celebrating that step with a big ol' bite into something exciting. Now that I don't have most of four teeth missing, I bite my lip a lot more, and can also whistle again. AND I ate a banana like a normal person, so feeling pretty smug about that.

That's all for now. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bikes are so good!!

Everyone! I rode bikes outside! When I pedaled, my bike moved forward! Times are good.

The above picture is what I felt like. At 14mph.

That's the exciting news as of lately, that I'm safe to be a productive member of society, by pedaling bikes, again! 

It's been really great to get out this week and ride with my friends and family. I also wanted to make sure I rode with someone every day as I ironed out the kinks. Plus #selfies!

Riding with dad!
Got David out on a ROAD ride. Just like the ol' days!

2012 HB Reunion! Fun times were had
The Condor soars! Awesome to ride with Alan again
Andy has taken lots of photos of me riding in the neck brace. So good to get out on a real ride with him!
Biking is amazing and I'm every minute reminded of how much I love it. As with anything you stop doing for 6+ months, riding bikes felt incredibly foreign the first several rides. My tires, I'm certain, were pumped up to 210 PSI the first several rides. My computer was no doubt displaying in the wrong metric, because the act of moving while pedaling felt incredibly fast.

Gradually, I've upped the distance and loosened my grip on the brakes. Times are good.

Speaking of good times, Marissa and I did this:

That is not a bridge in Seattle. Plus, what'd I say earlier about selfies! This is, I think, my first selfie that I've ever put on the internet. Maybe. Soak it in! We had a great trip down the coast with the only goal being to explore. We did lots of touristy things, as proven above, and had a nice visit to San Fran, Santa Cruz, and especially Petaluma. Here's something awesome: we drove down in Marissa's maglev vehicle and got radical gas mileage so we saved some major dollars. 

I just proof read this post and was reminded, by that last photo, of my darn teeth. Hey, guess what! I spent four hours in the dentist's chair last week getting oodles of root canals. As fun as that sounds, there are no visible changes but it's a good step towards eventual stumps being Elmer's glued on in the next bit. So, with that being said, here's my last selfie for the day:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New Experience

Friends! This past weekend I had the opportunity to do some speaking when I was asked to present at the Olympic Orthopaedic Association Cycling Team's year-end function. They didn't have anything particular that they wanted to hear about, other than that they "love bike stories!".

I've wanted to get a message out there, and this was a perfect opportunity for me to try speaking with a purpose. Over the hour that I spent with the team, I was able to tell lots of fun (to me!) stories about the highlights of my first year as a professional. I also needed to mention the lowlight as well, and that's obvious what that has been.

I wanted to be able to share a sample of what goes through my head, so I put together this video with little tastes of some of the topics that I touched on.

Thanks to the OOA crew for giving me this opportunity!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Just doing things

I'm going to get my teeth fixed soon! This is exciting to me. Since, ya know, sandwiches and burritos and stuff.

First, I'm really proud to announce a partnership with Klean Athlete for 2015. Klean is a supplement company targeted towards athletes. Every product is NSF certified for sport, which means that everything that they offer is guaranteed to be free of banned substances. This is incredibly valuable for any athlete facing potential testing through USADA or WADA, as you can just look on the label and know what's in it- there is no risk of the supplement being potentially tainted. A tainted vitamin ruins a career, and that is something that I do not want to have to worry about.

Based on my needs in recovery, I am proud to be working with a company who is able to help me keep my health where it needs to be. I'll have a post highlighting what I'm taking and its purpose within recovering from a TBI at some point in the future. I'm glad that Klean Athlete can provide me such sanity while I'm doing everything in my power to recover naturally and safely to 100%.

Think about it. 
Check out Klean Athlete! The multivitamin tastes like caramel if you're not into the stereotypical vitamin taste....

Since I can't ride outdoors yet and Seattle has had an uncharacteristically dry and beautiful Winter, I have been meandering around outdoors much more often. Turns out that being outdoors is a fun thing to do, who knew?! Rollers on the patio is a good option, but I have been (embarrassing, I know) really enjoying going on walks around my neighborhood and other surrounding areas. The other day it was a balmy 50 degrees so I sunbathed shirtless. OK, not me, but I DID see someone doing that. Aren't you cold, man?!?!

On that sunny day, Marissa and I went on a small neighborhood exploration adventure. Recently there have been several luxury townhouses being built that I regularly drooled at while driving past. Ok, fine, I drool a lot because of the whole mouth surgery perma-numbness thing but drooling at fancy townhouses seems like a plausible event? These townhouses, on the sunny day of walking fun, were open for touring for prospective buyers. So we went down, scoffed at the lack of closet space, and continued on with our day. I now know what million dollar townhomes look like! We decided to not place a bid for one of them. Since, well, the... closet space.

Continuing on with our adventure, we ended up at a park where there was a basketball hoop and several basketballs. In the unlikely event that 10 year-old me were to challenge current me to a game, I would definitely foul out to avoid losing. I am TERRIBLE at basketball.

I've been doing things other than walking, luckily. The next step for me is another MRI to continue to track how my brain is healing, and I see the dentist soon since my last surgery helped get some mobility back in my mouth. Lots of good things! I've been doing what I can to take care of my body in the best ways possible, so shout out to Peter S. (Acupuncture), Jim C. (Chiropractic) and Trevor G. (Massage) for their roles in helping get my body, especially my neck, back into working order. Thanks guys!

Also, I want to give my buddy Brooks a big GOOOO, he's starting his race season off this weekend. Have fun, man!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Real talk

I missed out on a pretty big writing opportunity at the end of my last post. Let's just pretend this is some crazy time warp thing and somehow the tattoo post has been connected and finished here. Deal. The tattoo was a well thought out commitment inspired by a dream, and the better ending to that post is that I am just trying to make my dreams come true. See ya, soapbox.

So there hasn't been too much writing happening for me because there hasn't been too much excitement worthy of sharing. Scratch that, Marissa and I finally, after one year in our place, sorted out bike storage. With some help from my dad and his wizardry we were able to get a space-saving solution figured out that isn't incredibly damaging to our rental walls. Celebrate!

I have this blog for a reason, and I want to take advantage of that. One of my goals this Fall and Winter was to not be overcome by my accident. I wanted to just move on. I didn't want my devastating injuries to be the only thing that I ever was able to talk about. The crash doesn't need to consume me nor the people who follow me, but I have come to grips with the fact that it is indeed life-changing and I need this blog as an outlet. I really value being open and this blog has always stood as a memory bank for my experiences. Regardless of my goal to not be consumed by this new world, this is an experience that I will have as part of my lifetime forever and I want to record it. This is now a part of who I am, and I can accept that.

This post was inspired by some action and direction, which now, almost 5 months in, is something to treasure. Initially healing was a rapid and steep progression, but not long into the process it became a plateau. Gone are the massive daily changes and those are replaced by things less noticeable to the human eye. Until recently that was my world. Then, after 13 weeks, I got to take the neck brace off. That was quite freeing and I've been working diligently to regain strength and range of motion. As range of motion slowly returned to a closer-to-normal zone, I was able to get back in the driver's seat of a car a bit after the four-month window had passed. These two improvements felt like massive leaps, and with the return of some more normalcy came a large morale boost as well.

This Thursday I have another big step, and that is my first surgery as part of recovery. I haven't been able to open my mouth more than ~50%, and because of that haven't been able to get my teeth fixed. This first surgery will start the correction process to help get me back to full ability with my mouth. As soon as the sutures heal, I can head to the dentist. Once I have teeth again, I will be able to eat a burrito! Has any other cyclist ever gone 5 months without a burrito? That's the number one food item on my post-surgery/teeth list. Then maybe an apple without cutting it first.

Those are what show up when you search happy burrito or something along those lines on the Google machine. I'm weird for searching that. But SUPER happy to find the "7 stages of eating a burrito" blog post.

Let's talk about bikes now, because bikes are rad and I like them. I'm still awaiting clearance from the Doctor's to determine how my TBI has progressed and when I will be able to ride outdoors again, but for now I still am turning things over every day indoors. Is there a record for consecutive indoor rides? In an entirely unrelated thing, is there a record for pure volume of sweat-loss while riding a bike indoors? Just curious, asking for a friend.

The trainer, although a pretty rude training buddy, has helped me a lot throughout this recovery process. With the aforementioned plateau in healing, seeing even the most minuscule of improvements on my Garmin screen gave me a consistent way to track how my body has been recovering. With the reintroduction of driving into my world, I was able to get myself and my bike to Herriott Sports Performance to try riding on the rollers. After 3 months of stationary riding, it was such bliss to have to balance a bike again. Since that first time, I have ridden the trainer once in the past month- instead always choosing to ride the rollers. It's been a pretty big boost to my mental game to have the rollers as an option now because besides having to balance: time goes by faster ; it just feels like bike riding ; and my power is, an at times shocking to me, 70-120 watts higher.

I'm going to rent a flat bed truck, put the rollers in the back of that, and have someone drive me around so I can "ride outdoors". Or just do this:

As I'm sure you all know, it's 2015. If you missed out on that I'm glad I could help. Marissa and I went to a friend's house to welcome in the New Year and both stayed up way past our bed times. There was a toast made that really rang true to how I was feeling about saying goodbye to 2014. I don't remember it word for word, but the message was that with the changing of the year, it is a good time to be proud and highlight the good that has happened and to not feel anger towards the bad that happened. It is part of you, but it doesn't define you.

I have a lot to be thankful for. I did successful 20 minute intervals today and now I'm laying on the couch unable to move much further. I love this feeling.