Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Last week it snowed and I rode the trainer. My general rule of thumb is that no matter how cold it is, if it's dry out, you're not allowed to ride the trainer. Wet and cold, you're allowed to whine, but dry and cold, you still have to ride outside. But after working in the stupid woods all day, commuting to and from work in 30 degree weather (which is normally fine, but in October? Not quite ready for this, nature. Ease up, there) and realizing I had been cold from 6:30 am when I left the house until 6:30 pm, when I made it home after 10 hours of working, taking the long way home, and dropping off 3 lbs of deer meat for Alex, etc. I figured being cold for 12 hours was enough. High time to get sweaty and do one-leg pulls on the trainer while rocking out to 90's music. I'm such a puss.

On Friday Alex and I took a couple demo Yeti 575's out to Pisgah to ride big bikes and feel cool, but fatty Alex snapped a chainstay less than an hour in, so we wound up hiking out, disappointingly as it was a wonderful fall day, back in the 70's after the mid-week winter freak-out. But so it goes. I'm not such a fan of big bikes anyway, slack head angles, 7 inches of forgiveness, 2.4 tires, all that rediculousness. Keep mine straight and steep, with the constant feeling that you're about to get tossed from your bike. That's the jam.

Saturday I sort of got my fix in, but was all sick with a headcold and whine, whine, whine, so more sort of slodged and pleghmed my way through a four hour mountain bike ride. Sunday, still feeling sick, I spent about four hours riding all over the place and yet no where at all on my road bike. It was awesome. This has been my road riding lately--no more epic loops for some reason, I'm just zipping here and there with some sort of half-formed agenda, taking the longest, most convoluted routes to places I need to get to that day, thus turning a 20 minute errand into a 2.5 hour ride. I guess this is base training, or end-of-season rest/transition period, but I do feel like I need to sit down and figure out where I'm going with my bicycle-riding life. You know, like a, uh, er, a (cough, cough) training plan. That'll be a good task for when I'm unemployed, I think. That and building cold frames and chicken coops and turning Alex's suburban house into one heck of a homestead.

Anyway, collegiate nationals a couple weekends ago: props like woah to Johanne and Dan from Brevard. Jo won everything twice (DS and omnium) and Dan podiumed all over the place. And Matt from the Warren to the Wilson for getting 3rd or something like that in the omnium, and of course, Rebecca Toma-wiki-wiki-wiki-Goddamn! who won XC (on her SS, of course) and tied for omnium with Jo but got squeezed to second because of rules, or something. Anyway, fast little scholars, always a good scene, ridiculousness and mayhem and bikes and smiles.

I've got Adventure Racing Nationals this weekend. Gulp. Wish I were doing the Swank, quite honestly, but its sort of like eating broccoli as a kid: You feel forced to do it, you never quite enjoy it or see the point in it, but you're probably getting some trace benefit out of it that you're completely unaware of...maybe. And it appeases those around you. Stupid team sports. Oh well. Can't complain too much about running around in the woods for a day. By the way, I just heard an awesome joke about broccoli, but's one of those that can't be told on such a family-oriented blahg as this. So remind me about it later.

And now I'll leave you with some words of wisdom. Last week, I was walking back to my little office at the Southern Research Station with a mug-full of coffee, and a construction worker said, "Hey, you're spilling all your coffee!" And I said, "Yeah, I know, I'm terrible at this." And he said, "You just can't look at it." So I lifted my head, picked up the pace, and didn't spill a drop. We used to watch former WWC forest manager Richard drive the work trucks off-road with coffee filled to the brim, and he'd never spill a drop either. I thought he was God, but turns out he just knew not to look at the coffee. This story also, for some reason, reminds me of the time Lexy and I were throwing a football at a basketball hoop, trying to make a basket. And I said, "I'm just not trying anymore" and of course I made it on that one. I don't really know where I was going with this, but I think the moral might be that looking down and trying only causes you to fail. But if you just do it, you're golden. You can't lose because you're unattached from the outcome. And if you're not looking--you don't even know how much coffee you're spilling anyway.

That doesn't make any sense. I'm no philosopher. But I do rock at crossword puzzles. Go Vote. I mean, if you feel like it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Double Dare and Pisgah Pale

I probably average about 17 hours of bike-riding time each week, so I was hoping last week, with the Double Dare this past weekend, that I would have something like 87,000 hours in one week. But it turned out to be just 29. So it goes. I've never been one for simple arithmetic.

Even though it resulted in a disappointingly dinky weekly total, 20 hours worth of riding (which, admittedly, also included some hiking, eating, and some PBR shot-gunning) in two days proved to be pretty beefy. But in a good sort of way. It was an absolute blast. The race format was Noon to Midnight on Saturday and 6 am to 6 pm on Sunday, with 10 checkpoints each day. Only one was mandatory per day, which created a very open-ended "race", by which I mean, a good way to force yourself to ride loops and trails in directions that you otherwise never would.

Of course I didn't feel like sitting on my saddle at all on Sunday or then Saturday night, descending down 256 from Mt. Pisgah back to White Pines in 34 degree weather felt a little drawn-out and torturous, but that's peanuts compared to shot-gunning PBRs at 9:30 on a Sunday near Shining Rock (which was, of course, part of the race) or campfires or Jeremy making an amazing plate of eggs and pot of coffee that morning, or climbing Pilot and getting to watch the sunrise over to our right, or getting to ride trails I'd never ridden before, and don't really know why I never bothered, and now having a bigger inventory of Pisgah and wonderful ideas for big rides, and the newfound/refound motivation and apprectiation for bike riding that a good epic leaves you with.

Anyway, a good way to spend the weekend. I can't wait to get back into the woods. I get to go back today, but that's for measuring trees, which because its part of work and my bicycle isn't present and Mike Brown won't be there with beers and a slingshot...just doesn't feel the same.

I spent yesterday sleeping in, running, going for a 2 hour road ride, clearing Alex's new backyard, making plans for cold-frames and chicken coops, getting my fixed gear up and running, and then making some homemade pizza and store-bought PBR. This is how I envision unemployment--long days of getting lots of good stuff done, until you loose your dignity and get evicted from your house. Shoot. Back to work today though, working for the man and having a steady source of income for three more weeks.

I'm skipping the BMX track today, since Lexy won't be there to drive me home afterwards. Maybe I'll go try not to die on my fixed gear. You should see the top-tube, heh-heh...scary! Alex doesn't like it, he says its a piece of shit, which it is, but it wouldn't be anything of mine if it were any nicer. So I dig it. And I finally wore knickers, winter-gloves, and socks on my commute to work this morning. It usually takes me about a month of being a frozen-idiot before I remember how to dress for cold-weather rides, but I think this past weekend helped me along a bit (e.g. "I won't need booties for the Double Dare, it won't get that cold..." and then we rode from Bent Creek Gap to White Pines via the parkway and 256 in mid-30's weather and I realized I was retarded.) You would think that living in the mountains for 4 or 5 years would have taught me something about elevation and shit getting cold. But no...

Collegiate Nationals this weekend! I am so excited to be standing around with 20 oz of coffee, wearing a beanie and a down-vest and watching all these nervous kids freeze their butts off while racing for glories and stories. That was such a friggen hard race last year--I wanted to win so bad and Kate Chapman (watch out, too, for her...she's so strong and will soon take over the world--of endurance-racing, at the very least) was relentless and it kind of hurt for awhile and I had worked really hard and I really wanted the win then I did and then I smiled, and now my jersies are collecting dust somewhere and I lost my medals, but now all that silly stuff is over with...until grad school, of course. My work here is done. I love retirement.

As Megs would say, "Go Phillies!!"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Kethcup. Ooh, Kethum, ID. Let's go there with bikes...

Hey! Wanna hear my most favorite poem ever? Well, not ever...but for the love-genre it is, and its the poem that's going to go on the doilie-place-settings at my wedding (not that I plan these things or anything...) Here it is (by e.e. cummings):

yes is a pleasant country:
if's wintry
(my lovely)
let's open the year

both is the very weather
(not either)
my treasure
when violet's appear

love is a deeper season
than reason;
my sweet one
(and april's were we're)

e.e. cummings is the jam because, not only does he write awesome poetry (some of its really erotic, but I'm always too embarrassed to read that stuff, so I just skip along to the PG stuff) and uses unconventionality in form that just seems to make so much more sense (kind like in real life), but he also doesn't even bother to capitilize his own name. I went through a phase like that in grade school--i thought it be a cool self-humbling statement if i always wrote my name like kylie krauss. I stopped doing that, though, as soon as I realized feigned self-righteousness and conventiality works for most other people, and they were all getting along much better than I, or i, or whatever. What the hell am I talking about? Oh well, I'm digressing anyway.

Spring, like e.e. cummings, is the bomb-dot-com, as it were. But like co-worker Brandon and I happened to notice today, fall isn't too bad either, assuming you're able to ignore what it's about to lead up to (i.e. winter, which is a terrible idea, seasonally speaking.) But fall, for what it is, is awesome. Especially here, in the Southern Appalachians. Word.

As much as I don't want to identify with the octogenarian motor-tourists that drive 25 mph down the parkway oggling over oranges, reds, and goldens...E.O. Wilson's whole Biophilia hypothesis forces me to excuse them. Everyone loves fall for its aesthetics. And dang! As they ought to.

It does, however, make me rediculously restless. Dwinding daylight and changing seasons coupled with me soon to be jobless, waiting to hear back from team sponsorships, not know what I want to do next year (work? grad-school? bake corn bread and make coffee for my man?), etc. It's been the most wonderful Indian Summer so far, and I'm trying to squeeze in as much riding as possible, knowing this isn't going to last. Soon there'll only be, like, 15 minutes of daylight once you're out of work, and it'll be all cold and wet, and my Campi grouppo will get all salt crusted from the road spray. I didn't just say that.

But yeah, fall riding...sure is swell. I've been feeling awefully strong this week--the Rainbow Ridge-Kitsuma-Rainbow Ridge oreo ride was great, I tried to take it slighty slower and focus on the key technical and power moves, all-official like. Last night I hammered a standard Bent Creek loop. My singlespeed's been sitting at home this week, waiting for me to put in a half-link so I can finally run it as a true 2:1, without a stupid tensioner, so I did Bent Creek on gears, which I hate doing. It makes me disappointed in myself. A couple easy rides the next two days, then I somehow got myself into doing the Double Dare along with Jeremy Hargroves. I think it's going to be a real tough race. I'm excited though--I haven't raced since August, and I've been feeling a little slacky.

In other aspects of my silly little life, my job with the Forest Service is ending soon--seasonal position as a research technician. It's been a good time, goofing off with co-workers under the guise of advancing the science of forestry. Or something like that. And so I've been trying to find another job, which, for those of you in Asheville, know is about as hard as cleaning Farlow your first time--unless your Sam Koerber, or God, then that analogy doesn't make sense. But yeah, trying to find a job. Trying to keep on keeping on.

And the guy I've been climbing to the top of fire escapes with to watch these fall sunsets, and other such acts of rediculous adorableness, is moving to this side of town, which sadly, yet conveniently, means no more evening sprints on the townie across, well, town. We used to use phrases like "smitten" all the time with eachother, now we're solid-like-a-wolf and use phrases like "re-smote" "smodden" and "forever smod."

And if that's not making you feel sick, wait 'til you see this.

I'm excited for this weekend--a good excuse to ride for 12 hours two days in a row, and there's no entry fee, so officially we're not really racing, so no pressure. No pressure at all....Gulp.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fall's Re-Sprung

Last night Alex was playing 20-questions of sort with his daughter, and he asked, "Would you rather have a car or a motorcycle?" and she said, "I'd rather just ride my bike."  We, and Alex in particular, temporarily melted into a sappy sac of uselessness.  So much wisdom and insight for a five year old.  Rock on.  And a few questions later, he asked, "If you were to write a book, what would you write it about?" and she said, "Dinosaurs. No, wait! Math.  Math and dinosaurs."  Gosh dang, I love that little girl.

Anyway, besides reconfirming that bikes, math, and dinosaurs really are about the coolest things was great because it was the best ride for me in awhile.  It was all getting a little stale lately, with too much work and other commitments and fading daylight and whine-whine-whine that all my rides were micro-rides for the past few weeks.  My definitions are that a micro-ride is less than 1.5 hours, a ride is 1.5 to 3 hours, a good ride is 4-5 hours, and a big ride is anything over 5 hours.   And so, by these definitions, not only had I not been on a good ride in quite some time, I also hadn't really been on a ride.  Once you take out the hour of commuting I do daily, I was really only riding for about another hour. Not enough at all.  Granted, those two or so hours were great for what they were, and I've been riding the hell out of the hour I have, which might wind up helping my speed, but I needed a day of just riding, getting to go until I got bored or, not feeling like I had to be back for anything.  

 So I left to go to the sneak attack trails over to Mills, then up Trace, which for some reason I'd never bother riding up before--I've been down it countless times.  It wasn't quite the tough grunt I thought it would be, more like a prolonged whimper. And the sourwoods are all bright red, and the Betulacea all bright yellow, and everything looked like fall--yet the temperature was warm and perfect.  Two hours in, I realized I had only drank a quarter of one of my water bottles, so I decided to keep adding to the loop I had in mind, and got back in just under 4.5 hours.  It would have been nice to go longer if I didn't get off to such a late start and the lesson I keep relearning would have changed my habits (i.e. that water and big red gum aren't enough for rides over four hours.) But oh well. I got home from this ride much more content than I had in awhile, so that was good.

Monday I'm doing the ol' Rainbow Ridge-Kitsuma-Rainbow Ridge oreo ride, which is one of my favorites, and on Tuesday, all the seasonal trails re-open in Pisgah, and out!!

Collegiate Nationals are happening in two weeks from this weekend. At Lees-McRae college in Banner Elk, NC.  You should go and watch the fastest schoolkids in the nation go around in circles. And there's always a bajillion good parties going on that Saturday.  

Lose your car keys.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Not that I've been trying to look at other bikes or anything, but...oh, swoon:

Straight lines. Steel. Lugs. Italian. I love it. The closest I've got is a Trek 420 that I have built up as a townie. I love that, too, for what it is, which is a straight, steel, lugless, American janky-ass piece of shit. Far, far inferior, but gets the job done, and I love it for that reason. Tomorrow, to make me love it even more, a track wheel's going on the back of the ol' 420. It's going to be fixed. I'm going to get hurt.

Bowling, Huh?

Exactly one week after Election Day, which would be November 11, which is also the date 11-11, which is an excellent sign according to Urantia and the person I trust more than anyone, Megs Denison, is the INAUGURAL ASHEVILLE BIKE SHOPS BOWLING TOURNMENT.

Invited are Industry Nine, Suspension Experts, Hearnes, Carolina Fatz, Pro Bikes, Sycamore Cycles, BioWheels, Ski Country, and Liberty Bikes. I'm assuming, however, that this will be like a typical group ride in that half the folks will wimp out, half of the other half will show up late, and the few that do make it will have one hell of a good time.

Too bad this guy can't make it (recognize him?) :

I think he's busy that week, either crying or rejoicing, it all depends on what YOU do on November 4th. Actually your vote doesn't really matter that much, despite what people try to tell you. But you should still vote anyway, just because you can, and because it gives you an excuse to leave work for a bit.

Anyway, for as many people there are who ride bikes in this town, the culture is a little diffuse. We're working on that. Ever been to Gainesville? Those guys stick together. Probably just because they can and because it gives them an excuse to leave work for a bit. I'm not a fan at all of huge (I mean, like, 4 plus) group rides...I always secretly try to get separated from the group, or hope the group breaks up on its own accord, or I keep riding until others have broken off to head back early and its just me and two others left. I don't like being a flock of weirdos clogging up roads or trails. I'd rather just be a handful of weirdos doing that. I don't know why, maybe just because you can't get away with more in little groups.

But I do love cammraderie, and I love seeing 27 bikes locked up outside of a bar (which never happens in Asheville, but should, and I can't understand why it doesn't--see blahg post below), and I do love running into friendly faces at trailheads, and I do love seeing the guy who actually owns a successful business party down like woah once in the safety of a post-race/post-ride setting.

At some point, Phil, Kevin and I were talking about the phrase, "...So you ride bikes?" and all its other forms. As in, "This is my friend Such-a-whozit. She rides bikes." And then you know, it is understood, that she knows how mush psi she likes, she has more than just "a" bike at home, she gets cranky when she hasn't ridden in awhile, she thinks arm-warmers are more practical than silly, and so on. This is in sharp contrast to someone who has a bike and rides it. You know, from time to time. Don't get me wrong, if you're on a bike, no matter what your cause, you rock, go you. You're probably still pretty cool if you're not on a bike, I just can't judge. It's just not as easy to tell that you're cool by our (i.e. the collective our that is the culture of "people who ride bikes") standards. But oh, ride bikes? Cool.

There's just something different between people who ride bikes and those who do not. Bike riding is weird and silly and made fun of from both inside and outside the little group. Kind of embarrassing, but still really fun for what it is.

Sort of like bowling.

Actually not at all. But less all us bike riders become too uni-dimensional, I figured it was high-time to try another activity. So...

November 11. Come. Tell you're bike-riding friends.
See who's # 1. (Besides Jamie Ritchey, which we all knew anyway)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"I'm not angry...just disappointed."

While I was away in Vegas, I got a call from a friend asking if he could sleep on my couch--something about a gas crisis and not being able to make it home and back with how much gas he had left. I had no idea what was going on, but considering what a Flop-House our place is anyway, I said of course he could sleep on our couch.
Gas crisis, huh? I was flying back from Utah when the ol' Blackout of '03 happened up in Cleveland and that whole area, so I missed that whole adventure, and there I was living it up in Vegas, using the hell out of non-renewable resources during the gas crisis here in the Southeast. Dang, I miss all the good stuff. Maybe this is a good sign...I'll probably be tele-skiing in Whistler when the apocalypse happens. No I won't. I just jinxed myself. Great....

Anyway, I'm sure even if I were in Asheville at the time, I wouldn't have noticed the gas crisis regardless. I think driving is about the most nerve-wracking, blood-pressing-rising, self-destructive thing you can do. So I tend not to do it very much. Maybe once every three weeks. Plus, it's terribly inconvenient. But no one else seems to think it is...instead they think biking is inconvenient, but that's only because they don't bike. I've done both. For trips less than 1/2 hour, the convenience factor is the same and driving is far worse anyway because its simply evil.

People punching people in lines while waiting for gas? That's hilarious. People thinking they need to drive to work that's four miles away? That's fucking disgusting. There's nothing funny about that, and it's such a post 1940's American concept to think driving is the best (and some people consider it the only--which is really gross) way to get from here to there and back. I recently bought a car from my brother, mainly so I could drive my mountain bike to races and bigger rides in Pisgah, which I'm sure could easily be called hypocritical, but that's fine. It is hypocritical. And if I were entirely flawless and never felt rushed or tired, I would ride my moutain bike for two hours to the trailhead, go ride my mountain bike for four hours, then ride the two hours home. But I don't want to do that. And maybe how rediculous that sounds to me is how rediculous it sounds to some people to ride their bike across town to work. Maybe that's just so far out of the question for them. It must be, otherwise they would have thought of it before they couldn't get gas anywhere in town.

I'm not pointing my fingers at everyone...just at a few key types of people. As much as I love and respect my friends, I am slightly appalled and disappointed with a few of them because the idea of riding their bikes to work or class never occurred to them until this "crisis" happened. I'm thinking especially of the ones that are actual bike riders...but not commuters. When you own at least three bikes, its hard for me to understand why you wouldn't ever consider one as your main mode of transport. You're already in shape and like bikes well enough, apparently...why are these people still so fixated on their cars? I just don't get it, and so I can't sympathize with it very well, so it makes me frustrated, and that's all.

I'm glad we had a crisis for the sake of my friends that ride bikes but never considered commuting on bikes. I'm glad there was a crisis for people that never really biked but had a townie and started using it out of necessity. I'm sorry for the folks that don't have the means of getting to work any other way but by car because they live an hour from thier work and public transportation in most parts of this country is somewhere between aweful and nonexistant, and I'm sorry for all the kids in my roommate's preschool class that couldn't show up for school that week becuase their parents couldn't get them there. But to all my able-bodied friends that drive their cars just because it's what they've been doing since age 16, and they never thought that putting on a backpack and biking to Amazing Savings or wherever is just as easy and quick as it is with a car...I'm shaking my head at them, wondering when they'll learn, and wondering why they seem to get so angry at the government for supporting their apparent needs. I don't know anything about politics at all (it reminds me of high school cafeteria gossip, so I tend not to pay attention to it.) But I know that I hate over-exploitation in all forms (excpet when it involves Halloween candy, then I, too, am a greedy bastard) and this is case #1 of "action, my friends, not words." You can't be driving to work hating on our government for wanting to increase the amount of oil available to the general public. They're doing it for people like you, silly.

I'm thoroughly convinced bikes can save the world. At the WWC homecoming last Friday, Alex and Pinkie were talking, vaguely, about the history of transportation in NYC. With Pinkie's stance being that the car was great because it replaced horses, which, of course, fouled up the streets and created the age-old American problem of having too much extra shit. Leave it to Alex to mention the bicycle. I was in-between conversations so I don't know what points were made between these two, but my own massive amount of common sense (scoff here, please) makes me back the bicycle with mule-like stubborness, mag-wheel toughness, and Chrysippus-like stoicism (don't bother analyzing those similes, especially the latter.) After the initial production, and every once in awhile for a few new parts here and there--there is nothing that goes into or comes out of a bike. No hay in, no shit out. No gas in, no CO2 and world destruction out.

Go bikes!

Or rather, go bike! To work, or class, or the grocery store, to over there and back, or, like, from the boys who got it right, you could just sit at home and drink a tasty brew:

Monday, October 6, 2008

Getting out alive.

A couple weeks ago I managed to weasle my way into a business trip with Kevin and Phil of Suspension Experts to Interbike. It was in Vegas, which is a place I never really had any desire to go to in the first place, and am now convinced that I have no desire to go back, but not one to pass up an opportunity to weasle my way into anything, I decided I ought to do it.

My first thought flying into Vegas was "dang, that's a lot of lights." Then walking through the airport my thoughts we're "Why the heck did that Starbucks charge me so much for this goddamn coffee?" and "Holy cow, all the men have really nice shoes. Weird."

I managed to make it to the hotel, The Stratosphere, ooohhh!!, and called Phil, as directed, because he said there would be no possible way I'd be able to find my way through the casino to our room, which was numbered 3-08-16...of course, it was. There were a fuck-ton of rooms in that hotel. And there are a fuck-ton of hotels in Vegas. It doesn't make any sense. But nothing in Vegas does, and that's why I had to sit outside of the hotel waiting for Phil to direct me through a casino no mortal soul would be able to navigate themselves through, alone, the first time around.

Sitting there at 11:30 pm local time, 2:30 am my time, at the beginning of this little adventure that was to be a week at Interbike, I reached into my jeans pocket in a desperate attempt at comforting myself and making myself feel at home. What did I bring from home that I had forgotten about that was now in the deep recesses of my pockets? Oh, dang...a Miller High Life bottle cap. I strongly believe that all your favorite pant pockets should have a bottle cap in them. You should just keep them there and carry them around with you and replace them when they get lost to the washing machine. It's good luck or something, for its also fun to pull out a bottle cap at a random (or discomforting, in this case) time and try to think of where you were, who you were with, and what was going on when you were drinking the beer (or soda, for you U-21ers out there) that once belonged to that bottle cap.

Anyway, I couldn't remember where that High Life cap came from, then Phil came, and the week began.

It was a good, overstimulating week. And anti-vacation of sorts. Lots of bike products and bike people. Some really cool innovations, like inifinite-engagement hubs (by a lil' company called Stealth) which use needle bearings in crazy little ramps--no pawls at all. Dang! (But warning...I-9 hubs are still the best. Don't be fooled.) And the Hammerschmidt crankset. Planetary gears. Swoon. Neat. And this awesome Belgian (or you know, some other non-American country...) company that had the same sort of cranks, but the shifting was done by kicking a little button with your heel on the side of the crank. Beautiful! A dingle! I've fantasized about this for so long--zipping down to Bent Creek on a more appropriate road gear than the near 2:1 I ride off-road, then not having to adjust chain tensioners or anything--same chain length, just kick, and you're in a trail gear. Word! Plus, it makes it ok to kick your drivetrain, which previously had only been reserved for momemts of anger and frustration.

So anyway, there was a lot of looking at products and wanting and thinking and dreaming up awesome new bikes to build. But there was also free crap to grap and free snacks to eat and free beer to drink, and I ran into some folks I know and met some new folks and made some really great small talk and tried but didn't manage to sweet-talk my way into the Campi cycling cap, but so it goes...

Highlights were sneaking into the VIP area at Cross Vegas with Rebecca "Hot Shit" Tomaszkwiszkiekszwik and her cronies, and riding the heck out of some fun bikes at the Outdoor Demo. Phil and I quite half-way through the day on Tuesday because there were too many people demoing the bikes and it turned into a cluster-fuck, so we starting eating Chipotle chips and drinking Fat Tire, then we took out the most ridiculous "bike" we could find. One, a Da Vinci tandem, which was more race-oriented and agressive then my road bike, I would say--so scary! No me gusta! 74 degree head angle on a tandem!?! Get me off of this! And some recumbant tricycles! So hilarious. Phil equated it to being tickled...its aweful and you hate it, but you can't stop laughing. It was so funny. And some guy on a road bike past us, and we apologized to him for being on recumbants and said we hated ourselves and were embarrassed, and he said, "it's ok, with people on recumbants, to point AND laugh." But hands-down the best part of the show was going into the bike-check room, which was a room full of bikes owned by people at the show. Mainly their townies, and mainly, the most awesome looking, well-built fixed gears. Some awesome old-school, neon-era mountain bikes, some new-ish race bikes (disappointing to see amongst so many other bikes with personality), etc. I walked around there for awhile, drooling, getting ideas for bikes that I want to build up, and probably looking a little suspicious to the old couple checking peoples' bike in and out.

Lowlights were running in Vegas. Disgusting. And the price of food. Oh, and that, upon flying out Friday morning, from the plane I saw a wonderful desert sunrise, and I thought "oh yeah, we're in the desert." Whoops. They fooled me.

It was a good time overall. Met some characters, saw some bike products, experienced Vegas (though not all that all-out, which maybe is for the better...) only missed two days of biking, and made it back to Asheville and normalcy in one piece.

Ah, youth.

The next day I purged my system with a long road ride followed by a long-ish trail run at Wilson. And then promptly slipped back into the ol' daily grind. Did Vegas ever really happen? Where I'd get all these key chains and coozies and stickers? Oh, right...