Tuesday, September 30, 2008

WEMS Recap. Thunderdown and the Underdown or something like that…
Part I: The Approach
WHY, by the author’s standards, just getting to the race is a real victory

“Hey Burnsville, get back here, HEY BURNSVILLE!,” shouted the slurring middle-aged drunk sporting the 80s style perm-mullet above the country music and the roar of the NASCAR event on the big screen as I made a quick, decidedly unmanly, but wise exit out the door of the roadhouse shack. Such was my departure from a god forsaken place that apparently regularly fuels the local losers with gallons of cheap generic rice beer (aka Bud light), especially on a Friday night. The cretin drunk in his simplicity was referring to the shirt that I was wearing, a standard 50/50 China-made “T-shirt” with the name of the bike race on the front and the many sponsors on the back, of which “Burnsville Subaru” was emblazoned in big bold letters across the back shoulders.

The fact that I would risk getting myself into such a dicey situation reminiscent of the “classic” scene from the film, Deliverance (the 1972 blockbuster starring Burt Reynolds) illustrates the extent of my desperation. I had left Duluth well over six hours before in an effort to get to the race site of the 12 hours @ the Thunderdown in the Underdown in the allotted four hours, with the idea being to set up my modest tent and to relax and simply enjoy the picturesque surroundings, before getting a good nights sleep. I was pumped because I had gotten out of Duluth earlier than I had anticipated and thus I was thinking that I would get to the site by 8:30. Instead, because of a key bridge being out of commission, coupled with my lack of any accurate local map apart from a bare-bones one that I had quickly copied onto a bit of scratch paper and my propensity for mild dementia, I had become completely and utterly lost among the myriad of country roads that criss-cross north-central Wisconsin. Initially, I had driven by the scary looking Roadhouse about an hour earlier and I was fairly certain that I was near to the race course. So on the second time around, against my better judgment I parked my little sedan amid the big trucks with their dual exhaust systems and their tattered patriotic flags and went inside to ask for directions. Armed with a pen and the paper that held the brief and sketchy handwritten description of the vague directions to the race venue, my quickly preconceived survival plan was to pass myself off as a lost ATV rider, a brother of sorts. In an effort to gain further acceptance, I would convey a ruse to the uncouth ruffians that a good beer-drinkin’ local buddy of mine was meeting me for a weekend of fourwheelin’, drinkin’, smokin’ and shootin’ stuff and that he was waiting for me at this place called “The Underdown” or the maybe itz called “The Underground.” Note: When I really needed to practice communicative accuracy and precision on that fateful night, I was never able to fully express the exact name of the race course; was it the Thunder bolt at the Underground or the Underdown with Thunder? In any event, I gained access without much fan-fare as the all male bar-flies were glued to the big screen TV where a stock car race was in full bloom. Working through the fog of smoke, I made my way up to the bar and approached a portly rather pleasant looking younger man; he seemed outwardly to be an amicable fellow and more importantly he was seated apart from a more rag-tag group of noisy ner-do-wells. Capturing his attention away from the screen, I explained to him the false scenario about being from up near Superior coming down to party with my old huntin’ buddy at The Underdown or maybe it was called The Underground. I ended my soliloquy with, “So do you know where I can find this “Underdown or Underground” place? He had seemed both receptive and coherent, so I was confused in that upon finishing my narrative he simply stared at me in a matter that conveyed a complete lack of cognizance. It was an extraordinary moment, for as I looked into his dark beady eyes I felt a strong connection to Java man of antiquity. Then he began to mutter in a guttural sort of bestial kind of ape-like fashion. Discerning that the man was so completely intoxicated that he was incapable of any form verbal articulation other than the most basic of primordial grunts and gestures, I reluctantly made my way over to the more rambunctious group of five or six.

It was obvious to even the amateur anthropologist that these men were fundamentally obtuse albeit efficient beer receptacles, who define themselves by simply how many fights they partake in with similar species and animals they kill with their trucks and guns, so I was on high alert. Foolishly attempting empathy, as a lead into their uncomplicated group dynamic, I inquired as to who was winning the car race, Hey guyz, whooze winninda race?” Their alpha-chief—who really was the perfect stereotypical Hollywood version of the wife-beating redneck complete with a mullet that seemed to good to be true— declared with great gusto and fanfare, “Not the Subaru.” His henchmen, out of a sense of duty, although more confused than usual, laughed with him in artificial tones. I must have looked expectantly at one of the followers and he granted me, “It’s on your shirt, Burnsville Subaru.” At that point, realizing that I was the article of the head simpleton’s joke, I attempted to divert attention away from my T-shirt’s logo and to instead engage these rough uncomplicated drunken men in my story about meeting my ATV buddy for a weekend of good ole boy debauchery, but it was not to be as the chief redneck would not let me speak. He kept on and on in increasing volume about ” BURNSVILLE, Where is BURNSVILLE? Letz go to Burnsville! Letz go to Burnsville and get a Subaru!” Then in a flash that defied his awkward drunkenness and his ungainly girth, he grabbed the pen and paper from me and started to make squiggle marks on it in dramatic fashion. They were looking to provoke a fight; one could feel the nervous anticipation, the closing in on the victim (it was like being surrounded by a pack of Neo-Cons). I know because long ago I was unfortunately in a few similar situations where like minded Cro-Magnon Men had exerted untamed aggressions. After allowing him to mark up the descriptive piece of paper for a few seconds, I could feel myself losing control and had I been a younger foolish man I would have gone after him without any further ado (back in the day, I would have hit back hard w/o regard to the consequences, I got the scars to prove it). “Give me back my pen!” I asserted with enough confidence to force him to look up at me in surprise. Instantaneously, I could feel my mood change from one of middle-aged amusement, even slight embarrassment, given the circumstances, to a rising angry intensity, I could feel the adrenaline building to a dangerous level and then thankfully in the next instant I remember thinking, “Get the hell out of here!” So I turned and quickly walked out, sans pen and the map…

Of course, once outside I sprinted for my car and sped off down the endless road, obsessively and nervously looking in the rear view mirror for pursuing trucks with which I imagined were festooned with oil-stained Old Glories and NRA stickers. After calming down, I resolved to drive until I got to a town, any-town where upon I could attempt to figure out where I was in relation to The Underdown or was it the Thunderdown? It was 11:07 p.m. and I had been on the road for nearly seven hours and I was still lost! I drove on and on and on and then finally passed a homey looking resort that advertised in neon “English Pub.” I slowed down but drove past it as I was still a bit skittish from the Roadhouse affair and reluctant to give up on finding a town. Completing a regulation U-turn on the forlorn road I drove past the resort again and it looked to be a place not unlike something you would see near Telemark, WI or The Porkies in the UP; a resort complete with little cabins that had clearly seen better days, but was still holding on, if only just barely. I drove past it again, but quickly turned around and completed a third even closer reconnaissance. Finally content that this was a family sort of place and even perhaps a safe-haven, I went into the little tavern. As soon as I entered I knew that I was among friends. A fire worked itz magic in the hearth as there were several tables occupied by some older gents and the bar was about half full of men and women engaged in various conversations. A buoyant buxomly waitress with a pleasant smile, named Tabatha, asked if she could help me. I told her the whole sad truth and while she did not know the area she went for the tavern owner of whom she was sure would know of The Underdown or was it The Thunderground? He came immediately from a backroom, remembering my manners I offered to buy him a pint and while he drew me a good map to the race site offering useful commentary as he did his work, we sipped from two fine Guinness stouts via Tabatha. It was the sweet taste of salvation and redemption. As I asked for the bill, he said “it’s on the house, lad” and so I left the pub with renewed resolve and a broad hope for the future of humankind. But alas it soon became apparent that his directions did not take into account that the bridge was out!

Finding myself at the site of the broken bridge once again at 11:52, I felt the full weight of man’s insignificance within the context of the infinite universe. At that moment the realization that I was but a minute insignificant dot of sand upon a vast shore composed of billions upon billions of grains of sand was tough to take. I was almost played out. Turning the car off and walking up to the broken bridge I contemplated briefly the thought of jumping, then swimming the river and trying to hike it in to The Underground (no matter how bad things get, there is always bike racing), but according to the pub owner it was some five miles further down the road. I was at a loss; I felt defeated, I went back to the car and just sat there for a spell. As my mind calmed, there was a vague recollection deep within my psyche of a reference somewhere by someone to a County Road H or was it County Road C? I had passed by this “H Road” several times as well as the “CC Road.” Maybe if I got back on H or CC my luck would change, so I decided to drive until 12:30 a.m. and if I did not find it I would return to the broken bridge and set-up camp. Just as I was resigning myself to failure, as if sent by Providence, a car passed me with a load of bikes on top and I followed it straight away to the course…so it goes…As I began to put up my tent during the wee hours of Saturday morning it began to rain, at first it was just a mild drizzle, then a downpour, so it goes….
stay tuned for Part II: The Race

Monday, September 29, 2008

Rosscoe and Lee Unwin lead the charge @WEMS

A full recap to follow...FYI: The Underground near Merrill, WI contains some of the best single-track in the Midwest (the course was nearly a 15 mile loop!)...Amazing course!!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

With Debates (and WEMS Race) Uncertain, Candidates (and aging cyclist) Meet Bush @ White House

Dear Fellow Americans, Capitalists and Hedge-Fund Managers:

After great consideration, I regretfully have decided to suspend for the immediate future my decision to race at the Thunderdown @ the Underground this coming Saturday as the needs of the American People far outweigh my own personal designs on winning a WEMS race. It is my hope that all the other guyz (especially the fast guyz) will do the same in the interest of our country. Duty first...so instead of racing, I will be heading to the White House to meet with John, Barack, Sara, Joe, Dick and GW to workout an emergency bail-out for all the desperate investment bankers that are in dire danger of losing their yachts and Swiss villas. We must act with courageous haste as these pillars of high finance are in the throngs of psychological despair. I am off to Washington; for duty calls, duty first, duty at all costs, duty even above bike racing!!! In the name of Adam Smith, I pledge my allegiance to the financial monoliths that have always stood by us, the American worker, in sickness and in health, etc……….Now is the time to unite; Our elitists need us!!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Running on a whim and a prayer...

I am feelin' good for a senior citizen, I mean I am still making old man noises when I bend over and my heel is still hurting, and my shoulder is sore...but I can still draw a breath, I'm pretty 'regular' and I still have my wits about me... so I am feeling pretty darn good...The question is can a pull off one more 12 hour effort? I have done FIVE enduro-events since late April including a 220+ miler on gravel, a 100 miler on gravel, a 24 hour suffer-fest; and two 12 hour WEMS events...I feel good on the OUTSIDE and we'll find out about the INSIDE on Saturday...

Monday, September 22, 2008

I am getting pumped for the....

Underdown at the Thunderdown (or vice versa?)...one of the last big "training races" until the Arrowhead 135 in early February, 2009. Last year's Thunderdown was a total blast...Itz amazing single track...somewhat hilly, curvy, but nice flow. Last year it rained hard and so the last few hours were epic...I am feeling pretty good; maybe I can pull off an upset? And maybe the federal government will fix the economy, and maybe we will draw together as a nation and really focus on actually doing something long term about our destruction of our planet...or maybe I'll get smoked...either way, itz bike racing!!!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Is the author subconsciously crying out for help, is he seriously thinking of joining THE CULT?.."Very interesting...this single speed revolution."

Captivating...this single speed phenomenon

At the very least, I must admit to being smitten in a curious kind of way with the notion of joining the single speed mountain bike subculture. Those who practice within its strict ethos are fervent, even fanatical in their loyalty to the movement. It has become a fraternity of zealots that are inspiring to me in their ardent defense of their back-to-the-basics approach to our craft. I admire their simplistic world view, their rejection of all things "carbon," and I am refreshed by their devolutionary and reactionary refutation of the mega-oligopolies of the industrial/cycling complex that control the cycling markets. Their most devoted practitioners (those who ride rigid steel frames created by like-minded local artisans), of which there are many, mock and chastise the mainstream cycling community for their unbridled appetite for the next “new and improved” shinny gizmo that comes along each and every year. I am truly captivated. I am intrigued; I am standing on the precipice. I took the first steps closer to the edge a few years ago with I vowed to never again ride a full suspension bike. I inched even a little closer two years ago, when I swore off the front suspension and the front derailleur…I might jump…I am seriously think about jumping!!!!! PLease stop me??? No No don't stop me...I mean yes, stop me....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Initial disappointment leads the author to a deeper appreciation for both is cycling mediocrity and the value of friendship...

Read on to feast your eyes upon one of the longest run-on sentences in cycling race recap history…

Chequamegon 40 Race Recap
Moments after completing my anemic attempt at the Chequamegon 40, upon hearing the news that world class cyclo-crosser Jonathan Page had won over a determined chase group including the venerable Jeff Hall and several other revered “greats” including Doug Swanson, Chris Peariso, Mike Phillips, Travis Woodruff and the ageless Jim Bell and Blair Saunders, I initially wept with joy but alas the tears eventually became bittersweet as I knew my dayz in the sun were now clearly over and that the time was ripe for me to stand aside and let the promise and expectation of youthful zeal and talent obscure and perhaps even erase my past cycling accomplishments; it was time to pass the metaphorical torch to the next generation of elite cyclists. Like those before me (Lemond, Merckx, Moser immediately come to mind), I knew that the time had come for me to join the ranks of the vanishing and forgotten historic athlete (where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?)...to fade away, never more to grace the lofty podium; resigned to become just another footnote in cycling lore...

Then in a wondrous spontaneous albeit epiphanous and liberating moment it occurred to me that I have NEVER EVER even been remotely close to a podium finish and that I have NEVER EVER spent anytime “in the sun. ” Furthermore it was pure fantasy to believe that I ever, even in my youth, had a chance of riding with those kinds of fast guyz. Reflecting even further jolted me to that fact that I enjoy absolutely NO record of worthwhile or notable cycling accomplishments. Suddenly the clouds parted as these simple realizations of my mediocrity provided great comfort to me. I felt free! I felt unbridled, unrestrained, unhinged, and powerfully thirsty. The pressure was off, as I was not at all like the greats of old or new; I was never great and would never be great. Tremendously relieved, I immediately went in search of the recuperative life-giving fermented barley elixir of antiquity.

The gracious and always amicable Mike Haag and his lovely wife Michelle found me wandering aimlessly around the crowded and lively Telemark venue, (both of whom turned in very impressive performances at the Chequamegon; Michelle finished just out of the money in 11th place, while Mike rode his single-speed to a very high finish, just a few minutes out of a top spot). They took pity upon my peasant soul and against their better judgment persuaded me to refrain from riding my wizened Kelly Knobby X forty miles back to Hayward (and my car and ultimately Duluth) and to instead ride back with them a short distance to Seeley on the backcountry gravel roads to their idyllic and beautifully crafted “cabin” in the woods for a full-on chili and beer post-race social extravaganza. Although it was a difficult choice given that I am a committed and highly conditioned athlete, I am not a complete fool, so I opted for the cold beer, the spicy delicious chili, the hot shower, and the wonderful ambiance and warmth of friends. Their magical abode in the Northwoods is a testament to the amazing skill and practical creativity of Mike Haag, who built the unique structure completely on his own. Before long, having adjusted well to their great hospitality, I dug in near the warmth of the wood stove and simply relished in all the great conversation and lively recaps of the classic Chequamegon. Chris White and Lindsay were there as was Chris Peariso and his lovely wife, Todd and Diane McFadden, Mike Phillips, and several other great folks. It was a blast to hear of the battles in the front as both Chris Peariso and Mike Phillips were in the thick of it ‘til the bitter end.

Itz funny how things play out…Many thanks to Mike and Michelle for such a great time…

Feeding the rat: I am not going to ride my bike for at least the next three dayz. I need to rest up for the Underdown and the Thunderdown in two weeks...plus the 'cross season is not far off...

ps I know Blair Saunders as he is the amazingly talented guy that drug me across southern Ontario two years ago during the Red Ass 300...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fear & Loathing in Hayward...

Fat Tire Implosion leads author to yet another refinement of the term “victory.”

A personal dismal performance leads author into a momentary quagmire of self-loathing…Luckily upon completion, his mild dementia quickly allows him to forget and to embark upon a day of debauchery and hedonism…More specifics to follow in a few dayz...Once my ego heals a bit more and I finish filling out my AARP paperwork...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Secrets to the Author's legendary success at the Fat Tire Festival is revealed!!!!

If you want to win this Saturday’s Chequamegon 40 read on:
[In a hurry? Then skip to the summary]

First of all if you are reading this (unless you are Doug Swanson, or maybe Kyia Anderson) chances are very very good that you are NOT gonna literally win the Chequamegon 40.

So in the interest of fair play, accountability, and transparency, the first thing you need to do in order to prepare for victory is to personally redefine what it means to “win.” Itz OKAY! Itz no big deal to redefine what it means to win, politicians do it all the time. In my little world, I will win if I can finish in the Top 50 overall. My race is not with guyz like Swanson, Hall, the Brothers Lalonde, or any number of top guyz (roadies and mountain bikers, as well as some ‘crossers and even a tandem team) that will beat me no matter how well I ride. So for little old me, I will be victorious if I can perhaps somehow muster the strength and luck to draw off the second and third tier guyz (in the evolving initial chase groups) to the extent that I can pull off a 50th place finish. Indeed, part of the appeal of this full fledged fall “classic” is the depth of competition. While I can’t remember off hand how many times I have raced it, I am sure that the number is over ten (maybe as high as twelve) and even way back in 1986; the first year I raced it, the field was incredibly competitive (that year I believe Greg Lemond won it!!!). A main reason for the relatively high competitiveness of this race lies in the fact that the lay-of-the-land lends itself to favor fast and bold roadies and fast and bold mountain bikers. Especially in dry weather, the number of serious contenders for the literal win may easily number fifteen or even more! Thatz alot of serious "contenders", not to mention the hundreds of "pretenders." Note: Given the competitiveness, the speed, and the sheer numbers of racers at the Chequamegon, a top 50 finish represents a notable achievement for any and all riders except for a real minority of elite racers and if a really fast guy gets a flat or drops a chain, he/she too usually is out of contention for there is no room nor time for playing catch-up as the pace is just too fast. The author has only managed to finish up that high three times…but who knows, maybe this is my year!

The second most important consideration in achieving personal victory pertains to the proper management of the initial twenty minutes or so of the race and thus involves a concerted effort at energy conservation. Specifically, the second most important thing involves ones approach to adequately dealing with the tenuous balancing act of not starting out too fast (and thus burning out too soon and therefore getting dropped from a chase group) and yet starting fast enough to allow for proper positioning once the perspective chase groups start to form after leaving Rosie’s Field and the initial Birkie rollers. On those rare occasions where I have enjoyed a top 50 finish, I have been able to resist the compelling urge to blast out of the gate once the front group leaves Hayward and yet I have also been able to be in position to jump onto the end of a fast chase group leaving the field and to hold on long enough until the inevitable slow-down-to-gather-and-refocus occurs within the group. It has been four or five years since I pulled off a good effort at the Chequamegon, but if my memory serves me correctly I played it smart by holding back and riding with a big group well past the halfway point. From experience, I know I am in good shape for a top 50 spot usually if I can get to the halfway point in somewhere around 60th place provided that I am in a good chase group (riding alone in this race is a big NO NO, this is a pack ride, think wolf pack).

Another big factor in achieving your victory is staying on your bike as much as possible. I have never rode a clean Chequamegon (but I rarely get on my bike w/o crashing) and I am sure that I will probably crash at least once in the one coming up on Saturday, but the key is to not crash at a pivotal moment in the race. Intuitively, one would think that since the course is relatively straightforward crashes would be comparatively rare, but given the speeds, the excitement, the twitchy/neurotic roadies, the hung-over MTBers, the sketchy gravel, the slippery grass, and the vast numbers of racers; crashes are an integral part of the experience. Several years ago I took part in an outrageous crash that occurred about three-quarters way through Rosie’s Field. Feeling good, I was flying along in a perfect spot and yet for some dumb reason I was looking around when suddenly with full force I hit an unforeseen grassy ditch causing me to take a full-on header over the handlebars. I hit Mother Earth hard, curled up, and braced myself for the expected throngs of bodies and bikes to hit me and I was not disappointed. It was carnage on a massive scale. The big crash probably involved at least ten racers with one poor guy puncturing his lung and thus having to be evacuated by helicopter. I was unhurt, but also decidedly quite unpopular among my peers and both of my super expensive Mavic CrossMax wheels were wrecked beyond repair. While I was able to slamm’em into good enough shape to complete the race, upon finishing I did not stick around to celebrate!

So there you have it…the secret to victory.

Here are the nuts and bolts of what I am trying to convey above: How to win the Chequamegon 40:
1.) Redefine winning, but aim high…(No worries--politicians do it all the time...just think Iraq)
2.) Rein in the initial energy surge or “ride smart” at the start…
3.) Find a group and jump in and shamelessly draft and do not lead…
4.) Take risks (itz a race) but try not to crash especially at the beginning and on the super fast gravel road sections…
5.) Have Fun and remember no matter how fast you are there will always be someone faster…so relax!!!
6.) Remember to combine hydration, carbo-loading, and beer drinking the night before to build stamina and after the race to enhance recovery...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Two must reads...but it aint pretty!!!!

Legacy of Ashes- The History of the CIA: I finished up Weiner's well researched and thoroughly captivating history of the CIA a few weeks ago. Holy Cow!!!! From "The Agency's" efforts to murder Castro by poisoning his ice cream cone in the mid-1950s to supplying both Iran and Iraq in the 1980s with millions of dollars worth of sophisticated "weapons of not-quite-mass destruction" to early post WWII efforts involving parachuting "former Nazis" into the Ukraine to mess with Stalin's USSR, one is left feeling decidedly unpatriotic or at least confused about the CIA's role in modern presidential power...I guess itz somewhat comforting to realize that both Democratic presidents (especially JFK, but even Carter) and Republican presidents (especially Reagan, but even Eisenhower) were all duped and used by the out-of-control CIA...Read it, for it is as CIA Head George Tenet said regarding the likelihood of WMD being found in Iraq; "a slam dunk."
The Omnivore's Dilemma- In a similar vein, Pollan's amazing history of the mass industrialization and mechanization of our food supply is a must read for anyone and everyone that needs to eat food to survive. It is crazy stuff...I have seen the enemy and it is CORN :)... Pollan takes his readers on an incredibly complex and heavily processed (and at times disgusting) ride as he traces the origins of the foods we all ingest...The chapter where he describes the path an average steer takes from birth to McDonald's hamburger is writing at itz very best, plus it is very helpful for anyone looking to lose weight. Both of these books earn five stars... ***** out of five
Feeding the Rat: Eki Hondo and I rode four hours on Sunday in the rain on gravel and it was good (It was a big week for me with 15 hours, too big considering that the mega-classic Chequamegon 40 is only six dayz away)...In any event, the ride got me all fired up for the DBD training sessions that will commence starting late October and continue through the winter months...the Arrowhead 135 is only five months out and the Trans-Iowa is only eight months away...so little time to train!!!!!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Recent Headlines from the New York Times:

In Palin’s Life and Politics, Goal to Follow God’s Will...

I don't know about the rest of you...but the fact that Mrs. Palin is gonna follow God's Will if elected (with McCain) to the executive branch of the federal government is of great comfort to me....I mean who needs that silly old Constitution anyway???? Plus in many wayz a theocracy is better than a constitutional democracy because in the former a nation is guaranteed the blessings of God. George W. Bush's administration is a case-in-point as is Iran's circle of clerics; both rely almost solely on God's Will with great results!!! Plus itz nice to know that if Mrs. Palin is elected she will allow us to tap that infinite amount of cheap oil up in Alaska that is currently being held hostage by all them hedonistic tree-huggers, commie-bands of rogue moose, unpatriotic caribou, unAmerican wolves, liberal migratory birds, and godless polar bears...so it goes..."drill baby drill, drill baby drill..."

Friday, September 5, 2008

To forgive is to set oneself FREE...

The path to healing is a long one, but I now begin the journey…
Based on sage advice gained from both my team of personal therapists coupled with a review of research findings from Dr. Phil, I have decided to forgive the young person that recently snubbed me. As many of you know, I was yet again a victim of a recent unsolicited snub. This most recent snub was perpetrated by a youthful and talented young road racer who is also a recent graduate from a highly regarded “liberal” arts college. In other words, the snub was especially devastating for the author (a teacher of young people and holder of a "liberal" arts degree) given the fact that the offending snubber was a young gentleman of intellect endowed with great expectation and promise. Since the vicious snubhaving passed through the various stages of angst including snub-guilt, a feeling of worthlessness, a bloated feeling, swollen ankles, a sore gall-bladder, and frequent flatulence; I now see the tiny light at the end of the metaphorically long tunnel. Yes! The time is right to let the acrimony go and to begin the long curvy and bumpy road to a full recovery. Yes, it is time to initiate the healing process, although it will involve a long period of recuperation. The people that truly care about me including my psychoanalyst, my nutritionist, my rolfer, my masseur, my podiatrist, my yogi, my chiropractor, my grief counselor, my mullah, my priest, and my rabbi all agree (as does Dr. Phil) that I need to wholly participate in the act of forgiveness in the most sincere and genuine sense before I can really begin to heal in earnest. So…Dear Snubber, I Forgive YOU!!!! I FORGIVE YOU WITH ALL MY HEART & SOUL!!!!!!!!!
ps I am starting to feel a little better already...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

When will the snubbing end?...when will it ever end...?

It was a full-on “10” on the Snub-O-Meter
Although I have tried to protect myself from the slings and arrows of overt snubberism; it seems that the sting of being personally snubbed never, ever diminishes even after years of facing up to the affronting nature of the practicing snubber. Itz one thing to be snubbed by scrawny malnourished runners and emaciated geeky techno-freaky triathletes, but to be snubbed by fellow cyclists truly is a hard pill to swallow. Yesterday (with the backdrop of the beautifully forested hills of Old Duluth--just in beginning embrace of fall as my panorama), finishing up a delightful easy training ride along a flat and straight section of the Jean-Duluth road I spied a young and talented roadie far out but heading towards me. As the biker gradually approached me, I recognized him and thus made ready to offer an encouraging, “Looking good” supplemented by a full-on McCain-esque thumbs-up. He was not riding fast and since I never ride fast, I had time to reconsider my salutation delivery. Should I stay with the “looking good”/thumbs-up combo? Or should I go with a more hipster greeting like, “that’s what I am talking’ about…can it get any better…sweet?” At the last minute I decided to give the more traditional, “Hey”/ wave with the right hand combo. He was almost to the point of passing, so with gusto I delivered the greeting fully expecting to receive at least the traditional, albeit reserved helmet-nod sans audio that is characteristic of the super "serious" roadie-in-training. BUT NO, NO, NO!!!!!…Instead after delivering my sincere and genuine salutation of which I am sure he received; he inexplicably and totally snubbed me!!!! It was a full-in "10" on the "SNUB-O-Meter." Aghast at the blatant in-your-face snub, I was initially rendered numb, then I began to think that I was at fault (blaming the victim)…Why me, why me, why, why, why???? What have I done to make him snub me so? Am I hideous? Am I too fat, too slow, too old??? Is my bike too old, do I look silly, even offensive in my wool shorts? But alas, before too long I was able to reconcile my hurt…It’s just another act of senseless snubberism…so it goes

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Below is a high school photograph of the author when he was a younger, more virile man...A man that perhaps could have won the Chequamegon!

With only a few big-time events left in my humble little racing season there remains a yearning in my soul to achieve some semblance of success...I guess I did okay earlier in the season on gravel, but my efforts on the mountain bike so far have not been all that impressive. Recently at the MNSCS/WORS Border Battle I was so slow that a group of civic-minded cub scouts on scooters engaged in cleaning up the course (post race) caught me up on my last pathetic lap; some of which offered to immediately go for help, while the rest of the troop agreed to stay with me until I was "out of the woods." Embarrassingly and after several minutes of debate, I was able to convince them that I was indeed a participating registered racer and that while I may not be the fastest rider in the race, I was quite confident of my abilities to get back to the finish/start line under my own power...In any event, I better get my act together soon as there are only two big mtb races remaining for me, namely: The Chequamegon (just a week from Saturday), and The 12 hours @ The Thunderdown (last weekend in September). Of course later on there is the Minnesota Cyclocross Championships (in early November)...The point being that all three of these top-notch venues can provide one with a chance for redemption. But last year,I totally fell apart at the Fat Tire (perhaps a victim of an overzealous effort to carbo-load the night before with my two buddies from Madison) and the fact of the matter is that I aint a very good 'cross racer (and I usually hurt myself early in the CX season), so I think my plan is to PEAK for the Underground at the Thunderdown...Yep, a man needs a plan...so he can get up in the morning and face a new day.....So Watch Out if you are planning on racing at the Thunderdown in late September cuz it gonna be a Peak Race for me....