Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Minor Complaint

The wintertime hath arrived.

I am a little disappointed in whoever's controlling the weather, as they seem to have forgotten to include fall in this year's lineup. Remember the cool-but-not-cold, golden-lit, season of change? The gentle epoch that eases the harsh transition from summer to winter? I like fall, it's my favorite season really, And 3-10 inches of wet, white snow is a far cry from "fall"

I find it hard to be too grumpy though, because something else arrived yesterday, courtesy of UPS:

I present you with, perhaps, the coolest pair of Chuck Taylors ever made. Custom built per my sisters' specifications, and all for me.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Riding Bikes Indoors

Last week, I offered to help a friend out with his training program. That's no big deal right? We're both cyclists, so it's just riding bikes with a friend right? Wrong, because this friend isn't a cyclist at all. He's a triathlete. An IRONMAN triathlete. Triathletes may well be the running joke of the roadie scene, with their sleeveless jerseys and refusal to wear socks. but the level of fitness required to even finish an Ironman distance race is patently absurd. Them's some fit mofos.

So I had committed to ride before he sprung the details on me: 5 hour bike, followed by a 20 minute run. In the season of 1-hour, high intensity training/racing, I inadvertently signed on for a century-plus. Hooray for friends.

Matt arrived Friday morning before the sun was out (scheduling conflicts mandated an early start). Now, let me preface a little here: I was born in Colorado, I learned to LAYER before I learned to walk. I am to fleece jackets what Imelda Marcos is to shoes (except without all the murder and embezzlement). When Matt arrived, however, it was 27 degerees, windy, chance of snow, no chance of warming temps. And that, my friends, is cold. Rather than deal with 5 hours of burning lungs and numb fingers/toes, we opted for the -- perhaps less comfortable -- alternative: 5 hours on the trainer.

It was an endurance event in-and-of itself, and rather than bitch about it, I'll let Matt to fill in the details here: Good times, Cold Rides

And for the record 5 hours on the trainer is every bit the suck-fest you might imagine. But it was fun, and it was hard, and it was more base-miles than I've been able to cram in the last month altogether. So, when Matt asked me to do it again this Friday (for 6 hours) I did what any reasonable person would do: I agreed.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Recovering pro cyclist relapses, living on the streets again.  Story here.

I followed Chad Gerlach's return to Pro Cycling from a yearlong crack binge on the streets. Addicted to drugs and alcohol, his life an empty shambles. He had gotten sober, found hope and purpose, and returned to the pro-ranks to race with Amore e Vita. It was (and still is) an inspiring story. Read about it here.

Relapse is a vicious and terrible thing to witness. Even from afar it saps hope. It's a little like watching a friend get eaten by a bear. And you want to help. You're right there, and you're not getting eaten, and you want to shout "Hey, just do what I'm doing and it will stop eating you!" But you can't yell, and they can't hear you anyway. And, really, what's keeping you safe from your bear wouldn't work for them, because it's a different bear.

The harsh truth is: Substance addiction is primarily a disease of selfishness. The damage that we can cause to others as a result of addiction is staggering. When I was drinking, I acted principally in my own self interest.  Unconcerned about anyone's feelings, except where it was convenient for me to be. It wrecks me to see that echoed here. Chad doesn't know the color of his newborn daughter's eyes. That is tragic. The disconnected indifference he displays when he talks about it, however, is as telling as it is heart-wrenching.

Many addicts and alcoholics relapse before they find lasting sobriety. SOBER Chad Gerlach is a cool guy, with a family, and a future, and a life. I hope we get to see him again soon.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Aging Not-So-Gracefully

Malaise, I fear, has sunk its dark black teeth into my legs. I don't know about you, but I feel very much like I need a vacation. It's not my work schedule, which fluctuates more than Oprah's dress size, thereby granting me ample time to sit comfortably on my ass. (Not quite a vacation, but still). And its clearly not a semiconscious desire to escape some gritty, unpleasant climate -- Colorado in the fall just flat-out rocks. The leaves are beginning to splash yellows and oranges through the mountains and streets. Its sunny and cool, leaving behind the heat of summer. It's just nice out. Fall in Colorado is what justifies Winter in Colorado. Otherwise we'd all just go live in Phoenix AZ.

Scratch that. I don't know how anybody deals with that 111 degree crap. When do you ride your bike in Phoenix? 2:30 AM? I'm out.

Perhaps it has something to do with my age.  I'm 30 now. The golden age that very slightly predates regular prostate exams. Considering that one year and ten months ago, I was trying pretty actively to drink myself to death, I'm pretty pleased to be, well, to be alive. Some other people thought it was an occasion worth celebrating and correspondingly there was a party. The trouble with surprise parties is that they're pretty hard to avoid. All your prospective alibis are already there, and they know you don't have anything else to do. There was a piñata, and let me tell you, if whacking wildly at a paper mache car with a bat was fun when you were eight, its gonna be fun when you're thirty. Plus there's candy inside of those things. Yes. Candy.

Additionally MFK allowed himself to be photographed in what I believe is next year's cold weather racing kit. THIS also marks the first time a human has been seen wearing a snuggie while standing but not on the way to the bathroom or the fridge.

Thanks everybody.

Now... For that vacation: