Sunday, November 23, 2008


Update, 11/24: She's gone. I'm not even sure why it matters enough to write about. I mean, it's just a bike. But as anybody who spends time with old stuff knows... these bits of metal and plastic accumulate more than rust and scratches over the years. They grow soul.

Soul, whether belonging to man or machine, is not some kind of divine gift received at birth. It is the accumulation of time and experience. It's your first love, and (probably much later) the love that's forever. Soul is the playground fight you got into in the 5th grade (and then again in 7th, and uhh... let's not talk about years 21-28). It is also the voice that keeps you out of a fight now.

For a bike, soul is built as miles disappear beneath the tires. It's joy on Christmas morning, garden hose washings, and even the months of neglect out in dad's garage. This bike had soul in spades, and it showed over every square inch (if you took the time to look).

So while it's tough to say goodbye to an old friend, comfort comes in knowing that I nurtured an old soul. My mom, keeper of a million such living objects, will appreciate this closing statement...

It's not just stuff.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Everything's Coming Up 'Cross...

My professors warned me about something in design school. They said, "When you leave here, you will never look at the world in the same way. You'll go out to dinner and critique the typography on the menu." Check. "You'll appreciate sharply-executed airport signage." Check. "You might even rent a movie just because you heard the titles were well done." Yep.

I'm accustomed to living with this inconvenience, and to not voicing it in polite company ("Sweet Jesus, nice typeface on this graduation announcement. Is this a funeral or a party? Oh, uh... right. Your cousin is graduating. That's great, sweetie. Really great.").

Well, it's happening again in a new, unexpected way. At my daughter's school, on the drive to work. Hell, anywhere there's some combination of grass, dirt, pavement, and hills within view. Everything is a cyclocross course.

I've got it figured out at Summit Elementary... asphalt, turf, off-camber turns. Geez, there's even a great runup on the back playground with old telephone poles half-embedded in the hillside for barriers. And an opportunity for "big air" heading down onto the basketball court. Yeah... people could definitely heckle from that spot.

Everything is a cyclocross course. I'm an amateur surveyor (minus the orange vest and tiny telescope), having fun pounding in stakes and running imaginary yellow tape all over the place. It's good to find new ways to look at the world.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Inside The World of Modern Six Day Racing
Interesting interview from Pez. Are these cycling spectacles still relevant in a culture of low-to-no attention span?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Big air...

was the phrase of the day at theWashington State 'Cross Championships. The Big Air Corral was clearly the best place to spectate, cheer, and heckle... so that's where Lisa and I planted ourselves. On approach, the Corral "gently encouraged" each racer to pop off the little kicker at the bottom of a tricky off-camber downhill. Just try... that's all we were asking. If you tried, you at least passed with muffled applause. And if you showed some style, even just a little, you rode off to the roar(?) that only comes from 15 dedicated, beer-swilling 'cross fans. But if you showed no cajones, my friend, you felt the wrath.

see this photoset on flickr

Things learned and/or confirmed on this day: 1) Never open a honey bucket which has been locked and subsequently broken into. There was a reason that thing was quarantined. 2) Dogs and cyclocross go together. Bring your dogs to the races. 3) Kids like bikes. Bring your kids to the races. 4) A bike glove makes a decent beer cozy. 5) Chuck Norris fears Dan Norton. 6) I have fun hanging out with my wife. She may not prefer honey buckets, but she sure as hell knows how to shake a cowbell.


pdxcross Announces Coffee Table Book
Hay pdxcross, I can haz? Will rite revuze!
5 bacons without even seeing it? Yes. And don't question the chef.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Pain, Beer
A quick, 3-bacon read from Draft Magazine

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I've known since I could put a word to it. My dad is tough. Where others back away from the unknown, he has nurtured a life of constant challenge.

I watched him work relentlessly for 15 years, ascending to become one of the top Masters runners in the country. Tough. I listened to his stories of trial and victory on big mountains and rock walls. He lost good friends up there, and still returned to face down the demons. Tough.

We found out earlier this year that my dad has cancer. Agressive, inoperable prostate cancer. The treatments are limited and focused on putting years in front of what doctors say is an inevitable end. The slow, sinking reality that he might not be tough enough to win this one... is a weight too heavy for words.

Sometimes I fall into self-pity for the fact that, after years of emotional distance, my dad has become my friend. We discovered common ground on our bikes, putting several thousand miles behind us the last couple summers. As the pavement disappeared, so too did the baggage and the anger and the insecurity. It's been enlightening.

I promise myself and him that we'll be out on the bike next summer, even if I have to pull his ass in the trailer. But will we?

I'm not even tough enough to consider the question.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Just another reason Portland is awesome.
Bikes to Rwanda

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sit, won't you?

So inevitably awesome, you and I wish we'd done it first.
Bike Furniture


From the newswire: Nerdy social misfits are dressing in tights and gathering in wooded parks for mock-battles of questionable "real world" consequence. Some wear the same crest and form "teams". Shockingly it seems that, regardless of the mockery, humiliation, or outcome... they will be back next week to do it again.

So, I've been feeling pretty sorry for myself because I've missed two weekends of bike racing in a row. But a funny thing happened to me about 3:30am (why does self-realization always strike when we really ought to be sleeping?).

Most of our parents probably told us the first time we took the field or hit the court in school athletics, "It's just a game. The important thing is to have fun." Well, at 3:30am, it hit me. Whoa. Cyclocross is just a game, too. The nerds will still be in the park next week.

Inner peace. Sleep.