Fired on Christmas Day

I hate to be the bearer of good news, so I’ll bear some bad news instead. I’m completely out of a job. A short while ago I had double employment, resulting in a brash overconfidence and a no good back-talking attitude towards my superiors. And make no mistake, they WERE my superiors. They were smarter, harder-working, better-looking, more creative, stronger, faster, and just plain better than I was in every way, which is why they’re the boss and I’m fired, once again. That’s the way the world works. The hardest workers are in charge. The 1% got there on pure determination and hard work ethics. Nothing more, so they deserve a much larger piece of the pie. I do not, because I’m lazy.

For the first time since 2006, I didn’t go on a 5-7 hour ride on Christmas day. I only had time for an hour spin on the trainer in the morning before heading to the hotel for a long shift (I got in another hour on the trainer that night at 11:30 though). So basically my day was ruined from the moment I woke up, but the capitalist in me wanted the cash, so I was actually eager to work on Christmas, which is the busiest day of the year at the Boulderado’s banquet hall. We served around 500 people that day. After setting up everything in the morning, we spent a solid six hours (from noon till six) seating, serving, clearing tables, and re-seating more people as they feasted on the bottomless pit of food from the buffet. Dear God, thank you for impregnating your mom with yourself so we can celebrate your birth by loading thousands of extra calories into our flabby bellies while a quarter of the world starves to death (the non-believers).

For dinner:
-prime rip
-crab claws
-two or three greasy, delicious vegetable dishes
-salad (a waste of stomach space during a Christmas feast)
-buns and bread
-fruit, cheese, and cracker platter
-five kinds of cake
-a chocolate fountain with fruit and cookies

Okay, now that the important thing has been discussed (the food), feel free to stop reading. I mainly just wanted to write about the delicious line up. Now then, onto the firing.

Like any normal day, I was on bussing patrol. While everyone else had a section to seat and wait upon, I had free reign to do twice as much work for half as much pay, bussing everyone’s section, filling waters and coffee, and bringing odds and ends to the guests (Really, what the hell is a waiter supposed to do during a self-serve buffet? Am I missing something here?) I probably carried a total of 1,500 pounds of plates and silverware that day. But it was the type of work I enjoy, mindless manual labor and a little small chat with some of the guests, daring them to go for a third helping. I was busy all night and didn’t stop for more than a minute or two the entire time other than to grab some sodas for the the dishwashers (which I eventually got scolded for).  Half of my coworkers were put to utter shame as I SMASHED their hopes and dreams of being the hardest working employee.  I stormed away by myself into the headwind, dropping everyone like a bag of rocks on a long hike–because you’d drop a heavy bag of rocks pretty quick when you realized you had a long way to hike. Duh. That simile makes sense.

My roommate, Greg–who works at the hotel also, wasn’t working that night but came to eat with the staff and I after the guests left. My riding buddy, Philip, came along too for the free dinner, and the two of them had been waiting downstairs for two and a half hours in the lobby because Greg had mistakenly thought the banquet ended at 4, not 6-something. So finally we finished up and I went downstairs to get them. Back upstairs at the banquet, Philip and I loaded our plates with mountains of food and began our feast in celebration of winter solstice, just four days late. We were still finishing our first plates when the rest of the wait-staff started getting up to get back to work. There was still all the buffet equipment to break down and two more tables to clear, but it was all pretty minor stuff compared to the hecticness of the past six hours, and a dozen people weren’t necessary to do it.  I continued eating since I’d started 15 minutes after everyone else. Plus I was planning on eating my weight in gold, if that makes sense.

So by the time I finished my second plate of food and third plate of dessert, it was finally time to get back to work since I was getting some dirty looks from one of the mean-spirited women that has apparently had a problem with me ever since my first week, not that my taking longer to eat was any of her business since I wasn’t working for any of the tip pool.  As a “temp” and a busser, I was making an hourly wage which didn’t effect any of their pay.  I said goodbye to Greg and Philip and started cleaning up. I quickly found out there was very little to do and occupied myself with trying to look busy, something a few of them had been attempting all night.

Then all of a sudden while I was dragging the chocolate fountain into the kitchen to dump it, the woman who’d been giving me evil looks and harped on me about the sodas, though I had ignored her since the sodas are for everyone,–she came barging into the kitchen and told me to clock out and go home. “You’re done. You’re so done tonight it’s not even funny. You need to go home NOW.” She was super upset for some reason. I didn’t think she had the authority to tell me to leave, since she wasn’t the shift leader that night. I followed her out of the kitchen arguing with her and made her explain why I had to go home early (by about a half hour). She told me there wasn’t enough time to discuss everything right then. “I wouldn’t even know where to begin. There are so many things and we can’t discuss them here. If you have a problem you can talk to one of the managers.” But I was persistant and told her to give me some sort of idea what I had done.

Me: Was it that I ate for 20 minutes longer than everyone else?
Her: No that’s just one of many, many things.
Me: Like what? Like WHAT!? What did I do? I worked hard the entire night.
Her: Everyone here has a problem with what you were doing tonight. There isn’t time to discuss it now. (She tried to walk off. I followed her and stepped in front of her).
Me: What? That’s not true! I only heard compliments. Give me one example because I don’t believe you.
Her: Well, for starters there were reports that you were eating off people’s plates.
Me: Are you kidding me!? That is a complete lie. Whoever said that is a blatant liar. Who said that?
Her: I can’t disclose that information (as if she’s a CIA agent talking about a secret assassination).
Me: Well I can guess who said it and she’s completely lying because I didn’t eat off any plates tonight and there’s not even a chance someone could have mistakenly thought I was doing that. This is ridiculous. None of this is true.
Her: I don’t know what else to tell you right now, but you’re done here.  Go home.
Me: Whatever. I’ll be talking to the managers.

Basically the conversation didn’t go any further and she wouldn’t say anything other than, “You have to leave. Go clock out.” I know she didn’t expect me to argue with her in front of everyone like that, since the more reasonable thing to do would be to leave and keep my mouth shut.

The manager who had hired me stopped by my house the next day to drop off my last pay check and apologize for everything that had happened. (I’d written an angry email to him the night of the incident calling out all the lies).

From what I gather, there were two women who didn’t like me from the beginning since I’d argued with both of them at some point in the past couple weeks (Not angrily or anything. One had just tried to correct me when I wasn’t at fault, and I told her so. Plus I’d taken initiative and changed the way we handled the way we bring in and clean the dishes for the dishwashers in the kitchen, making everything much more streamlined and easier on the dishwashers and the banquet staff. It had really pissed her off since I told her that the old way was too slow. My roommate, Greg, also told me that both of them had been intimidated by my presence because I’m a hard worker (as opposed to the theme of my last post) and made some of the other people who work there look lazy. Apparently even my wiry cyclist arms are better-equipped at running dozens of 50-pound trays of dishes than the average middle-aged person. So while some of my coworkers gossiped amongst themselves and tried to look busy, I did their work for them, not realizing (or caring if) it made them look bad. This is why I got fired. I was doing too much work, usually the means for a raise. It seems hard to believe but that’s basically what the manager who hired me (who’s being “let go” this week) told me when he stopped by. I would still have my job if he wasn’t being fired as well. The new management is somewhat clueless and appears to just roll over for the two women that pecked me out.

I was ready to send off a slew of angry yet composed emails to the entire banquet staff, picking apart the two villains and their lies and laziness, but Greg was afraid it would get him fired since he was the one who helped get me hired. So I held back. I’m going to the hotel tomorrow to talk to the two new managers sometime this week, but I don’t expect anything will come of it.

Getting fired from that job is unfortunate, since I usually got to take home a lot of food, and also since there were people there that I liked and were fun to work with and who were hard workers. I feel bad for them since they’ll have to continue working with and being owned by the couple evil ones that they all listen to for some reason. It baffles me that those couple back-stabbing liars have any authority there. They aren’t managers and they aren’t paid more than anyone else.  They’ve been there for a long time, but not the longest, and even that shouldn’t grant them the authority to have any real say, in my opinion. If it weren’t for Greg’s worry of being fired, I’d just show up for work next Saturday like nothing had happened and see what they’d say.

Greg has been on my case ever since he met me that I’m too opinionated, too pushy, too intense, and have too much of an ego. I “just have too many of my own ideas (wtf?) and need to let things go sometimes.” “You need to see things from the other side and just let it go once in a while”.  “You know, what comes around goes around,” he says. I strongly disagree. If I ever become a mindless sheep who believes there’s any sort of benevolent being up in the sky dictating justice, I’ll consider myself an idiot and a failure. Strong-willed people with decent morals are too few and far between. The few conquer the many because the many don’t speak up.  And I’d rather make enemies than unworthy friends.

If nothing else, I do enjoy the irony of being fired on Christmas.

Failed cover letters

If you’re trying to get hired, here’s what not to do. Neither of these types of responses helped to net me a job.

1) From a Craigslist ad:

“we are looking for a sandwich maker with cashier experience must be available to work from 9:00am to 4:00pm monday thru (such as sweeping ,moping ,dishes ,etc .)will be required . we really need someone who does not mind being through and clean”

My response:

“Hi, are you looking for someone who’s “through and clean” as you said, or are you looking for someone who’s “thorough and clean?” I’m not sure if I’m the guy you’re looking for since I’m through being thorough and now thoroughly sick and tired of being so thorough throughout the entirety of my life to date. It’s really tiring and I’m just over it at this point.

“I know spell check is a new invention, but it’s something you might want to look into. If you want to hire me, let me know with a well-worded email. Just please write it in a way that doesn’t require a dyslexic 1st-grader’s mind to decipher.”


2) A restaurant looking for a busser asked for a cover letter written to include the super power you’d choose and the reality TV show you most desire to be on.

My response:

“I’ll start out with the most important question: my super power of choice. Aside from the obvious and unoriginal choices of flight or the ability to make infinite amounts of my own personal wishes come true, I’d have to say that my most-desired super power would be to bus tables with super-human speed and quality. Hahaha. No but seriously, I’d choose to have a super-human sense of smell. This way I could go sniffing for truffles on my own without having to hire one of those ridiculously expensive truffle-finding pigs. Think of all the money I could make in the truffle business if I didn’t have to hire the pigs! I could make tens of hundreds of dollars! With my super smell ability I could also bring to justice the guilty parties responsible for “crop dusting” rooms with flatulence. If I ever got lost in the woods I could smell my way back to the stench of civilization’s McDonalds. But, most importantly, I wouldn’t have to stop to smell the roses, resulting in a monumental amount of extra productivity while still remaining happy.

“Okay, onto the next question: What reality TV show would I want to be on? To that I answer that I’m fairly confident that my life is already being secretly documented and aired to the world without my knowledge in the series “Life of Kennett.” Kind of like that Jim Carrey movie, except there might be the very real possibility that the rest of humanity no longer exists due to extinction and everyone else in this make-believe world is either an alien, a robot, or just a figment of my imagination. I’m 47% certain that the entire world is fictitious, a terrarium built around me and I’m the lab rat being studied by beings that poses such great intelligence that I don’t realize I’m just part of their experiment. But aside from all that…I guess I’d choose Survivor because I could use some time in the sun on the beach.

“You should hire me because I’m a hard worker, quick learner, and I never show up to work late, except sometimes, but that’s only due to me not leaving home in time. (That was a joke, I won’t be late). Maybe I should take that out. Nah, I’ll just put a line through it. In all seriousness though, I would choose flight. It’s a no-brainer. Now that were back onto that topic, I have a question for you: would you rather have the ability to fly but only ONCE a month for a day (plus you can’t tell anyone about it or use your ability to fly to make any money) or would you rather be given 1 billion dollars?”

Hard at work or hardly working

A week or so ago my roommate made some comment about how hard of a worker I am. He couldn’t believe I had the energy to get off work at the hotel at 11:30 pm, then wake up early the next morning to shovel snow most of the day, then work at the hotel again later that night. He said I was “an inspiration to us all.” I said thanks, though I really didn’t feel like I deserved the compliment. For one thing, shoveling driveways and bussing tables takes nowhere near the level of effort that even a three or four hour ride takes. Secondly, that was not a typical couple days. But more than that, there are people who train 20+ hours a week AND have FULL time jobs of 40+ hours a week. Compared to these people, who are quite abundant in the cycling world, I feel lazy. I come home from my ride (sure, it was a hard one) and lay on the couch fiddling on the internet or drawing pictures of wolves for the rest of the evening. I don’t have kids to take care of, papers to grade, student loans to pay off, homework, or even the slightest inconvenience of having a lady friend to go visit. No, I have absolutely no other major commitments other than training and racing. Save for my menial jobs a few days a week, I wake up late, eat, ride, eat, and laze around. Repeat.

Now my roommate, on the other hand, is a truly lazy person, which is why he must think I’m so busy. It baffles me to see someone who works part time and doesn’t have any hobbies, sports, a family to raise, or activities to occupy himself with other than watching TV and talking on the phone. And what surprises me even more is his age. He’s almost 50, and he’s STILL lazy! Ummm, retirement money, hello?? I thought people grew out of laziness sometime after college. Apparently not everyone does.

Most of the “adults” I know put me to shame when it comes to working hard. In my family, I’m used to people like my aunt and her husband, who’s extremely long hours spent on their small business must have profited enough money to buy the entire bulk section at Whole Foods 1,000 times over. I’m used to people like my uncle, who spent his life doing hard manual labor 10 hours a day his entire life. As a landscaper, your work environment is always either too hot, too cold, too wet, or too dry, you get cuts and small bruises everywhere from blackberry brambles and knocking your shins on machinery, aches in your knees from kneeling while yanking weeds, sore feet and legs from walking and standing all day, burnt skin from the sun, and you always come home tired and hungry. He wrecked his back after 25 years and no amount of surgery will fix it. I’m used to seeing the hard work of my mom, who went back to college to get a third degree while raising my brother and I, then afterward worked full-time as an accountant while also attempting to keep the house intact as my brother, my dad, Thomas, and I tried to run it into the ground. (Thomas is somewhat of a destructive dog. We’ve lost count of the pies he’s stolen off the counter top and the square footage of house he’s gnawed away). I’m used to but still in awe of my dad’s relentlessly early days, starting at 4:30 every morning to row or swim for an hour, commute to work, teach classes, write papers, do research and field work, train for another 1-2 hours on the bike, in the pool, or on the erg at the gym, then come home, and go to bed at 9:00. Three hours of hard workouts a day on top of a 60+ hour a week job, and he’s 58. Even my brother is majoring in a real degree, chemical engineering, while all I learned in journalism was how to write a good blog. The only person lazier than me in my family is Thomas, who can’t go on bike ride runs anymore since he has hip dysplasia. He still gives those squirrels a run for their money though.

But all of those examples are nothing compared to the reward-less, demeaning, and exhausting work that goes on in the third world to make all of the crap we’re buying for christmas. The 15-hour days in sweat shops for a dollar an hour, the scorching heat and heavy lifting in banana and coffee plantations, the disease, poverty, and starvation that’s put up with in the third slave world, while subsequently working their hands to the bone, is what impresses (and sickens) me.

When I think of all the hard-laboring people in the world, then think about what I’m doing, I get depressed. It makes me feel like a worthless, lazy slob. Yes, there are a lot of people even lazier than me, but I don’t compare myself to them. If there’s someone faster than me, I want to beat them and will gasp like a fish in order to do so. If there’s someone slower than me, well, so what; it’s like taking pride that you passed an old man on a mountain bike with flat tires on his way back from a prostate exam.

I realize the extreme fortune in my opportunity to race full time and still, at the ripe old age of 26, receive support from my family. While I feel bad about how lazy I am and how much harder it is for people in Ethiopia, India, or even in Portland where there are droves of fast cyclists with families and careers,–at the same time the guilt helps drive me. The parrot on my shoulder, no wait I mean the monkey on my back, whispers in my ear that I better not fail. I better fucking smash those damn pedals as hard as I can every day and starve myself with salad and clams every night. I better eek out every single drop of effort on my rides, wring my muscles dry like a sponge to get out the final few watts, train my mind to suffer in ways that only a select few will ever know, and then when I’m done, I better be the best lazy ass-hole on earth for the other 20 hours of the day.

Nonsensical ramblings

Man, I had so many things on my mind earlier today that I was eager to write about but I forgot most of them. Up, just remembered something. One thing is that from now on I will refer to my legs as “dogs”. I would appreciate it, nay, I request, that everyone else also refer to my legs as dogs. So instead of asking me how my legs are feeling as we line up for a race, you should just ask, “how them dogs feelin, Kennett?” To which I might reply, “Oh, my dogs are barking a bit. Shouldn’t have done those four hours the day before yesterday.” I want to do this, not just because it sounds cool, but also to keep in mind the idea that my legs are like tethered sled dogs, eager to pull all day as long as the harnesses don’t get tangled and I keep them well fed with wet dog food, not dry, because as everyone knows if you feed a sled dog dry dog food it will get bloody diarrhea. That’s always one of the hardest words for me to spell.

Geeze, I really thought I had more thoughts today. I guess that was my main focal point of the day, so at least I got that important notion down in writing.

I did a couple semi-long rides this Friday-Sunday in my sickness rebound. I ate a lot of food last night after my ride, one of the best things being a huge smoothie made out of a king’s ransom of strawberries, ice, and vanilla whey protein. I took home a huge box of food from the hotel the other night. I think I made off with about three gallons of strawberries, if strawberries were measured like a liquid. And also half that much pineapple chunks. My mouth burns right now from eating too much pineapple today, due to the bromelain of course. One of the women that I work with has chickens at home and she likes to bring a lot of food home for them. She’s my only competition when it comes to hoarding the leftovers. The other night I was bussing tables like a mad man while she spent a good 15 minutes in the back packing up almost all the good food…for her damn chickens! We’re talking salmon, ravioli, steak, expensive main entree stuff. I was NOT happy, and I let her know…in a very passive aggressive way of course. I mean, I wouldn’t actually go rationally explain the issue and my point of view to her. That would just be stupid.

Luckily, I got back there just in time before she piled the rest of the food in her box for those damn chickens. I took almost all the fruit, which she was apparently mad about but I don’t care, since chickens don’t need fruit. I also got all the cooked vegetables and a huge thing of mashed potatoes, crackers, all the salad, and one plate of ravioli. All in all, about $100 worth of food if I bought it at the grocery store. Her chickens had that in salmon alone.

That night we served steak, ravioli, chicken, salmon, crab, shrimp, lobster soup, salad, cake, chocolate fountain, hors devours, etc… But the kicker was that the party downstairs was eating full on lobster tails. And for the first time in my life, I had lobster. I wasn’t sure if I was really supposed to have any, so I gulped the whole tail in three bites like a sneaky, dirt-faced 1800’s era London street kid might. It was good, but I don’t know what all the fuss is about. It has a similar texture as crab with a more meaty flavor. When it comes right down to it, bacon beats lobster any day. But that pretty much goes without saying. Not quite though, since I did say it.

I smashed some cat 4 legs yesterday on a ride that I was hoping would be fast, but wasn’t. The “hard” group ride starts in January, though in reality I just need to find a few guys faster than me to train in the hills with. Too bad Lang isn’t here. I bet he knows someone who’s fast that he could introduce me to.

What else have I done lately…oh, well I did THIS of course!! Jean bike bag, PRO.

Impressed? Check out that fine stitchmanship:

Unfortunately it sags and swings to and fro more than a 90-year-old’s bag, so I think I’ll have to make some modifications. It’s annoying when it flops against your legs all day long. Basically what I did was cut the lower pant leg off a pair of jeans, then took the crotch zipper and attached it to one of the opening, sewed the other end shut, then sewed on the straps from my old bike bag, which was NOT pro:

Since there were two zippers on it, I should have just sewed the broken zipper shut and called it good. But I decided spending two and a half hours making a new, from-scratch denim bag was a better way to spend my evening. My next creation will be to invent some sort of timing device to let me know when my oats are burning, cause this happens one out of four times I make oats, which is at least once a day.

That didn’t last long

Well, I was vegan for a day.  One full day I was 100%, no holds-barred, vegan vegetarian.  No animal products whatsoever.  The day after that I had an egg.  Then the day after that I had a 20-something ounce steak.  HUGE hunk of tenderloin, free from the hotel.  It was really good.  And now I’m no longer vegan.  Once it hits your lips…

Aside from meat cravings, I backed down from veganism once again out of fear.  Fear that I’ll become anemic, protein-starved, and deficient in other essential vitamins, fats, and minerals that are best found in animal products.  I really got my hopes up this time that I’d be able to carry out an eating style more earth-friendly…but I’d rather win a bike race.  Not saying it isn’t possible to win one without meat, but I think the odds are better with it.

Steak and eggs aside, I’ve been crushing the vegetables.  I got a shipment of hard neck garlic from home and quickly baked a large batch in the oven.  Baking garlic is the best way to assure you eat at least seven or eight cloves a day (and by the way, an average hard neck garlic clove is about the size of an entire bulb of normal garlic).  And eating seven or eight cloves a day is a great way to stay super regular. A nice recipe for a thick, green soup that I’ve eaten the past couple nights is:

Entire thing of Swiss or rainbow chard.
Large amount of fancy style cabbage
Half thing of Kale
1/2 cup of split peas
1-5 cloves of hard neck garlic depending on how bad you want to stink
Some coconut milk
One egg

It’s very simple to make. First, you cut up and boil the chard in some salt water. Only boil it for a minute or so. And don’t use very much water. Just enough to boil the other vegetables and a bit extra water to add into the peas. Some of the vegetable’s vitamins are lost in the water so I like to save all the water by adding it into the soup. Or just drinking it.

Next step: Blend the chard in a blender.
Next step: Chop up the kale and cabbage and garlic. Boil them in the water for like five or eight minutes or something. Longer than the chard.
Next step: Blend the cabbage and kale and garlic in the blender.
Next step: You should do this step first actually–start cooking the split peas since it will take an hour.
Next step: Mix everything together in one pot on the stove (cooking the egg).
Next step: Have monstrous, loose, green poops and nasty garlic/cabbage farts for the next 24 hours.

I’ve also been devouring salads almost as gigantic as Spencer’s appetizer. If it doesn’t need to be eaten out of a pot it doesn’t deserve to be eaten:

Olives from the hotel:

Hard neck garlic and chocolates (pre-vegan). After eating the entire 1-pound box in a sitting, I had to ride downtown and find a homeless man to unload the other box of chocolates on before I finished them off too. I have very limited self-control.

I got a new chain the other day and it turns out that all four of my cassettes are too worn to be used with a new chain.  Chain slippage all around. I thought about putting the old chain back on with my oldest and most favorite old cassette, both married in a perfect harmonious metallic groovage of wear and tear, but I ended up just tossing it and the old chain and getting a new cassette.  12×28 baby.  I like ride mah bike slow up dem hills cause I got reeeal meaty thiiiiighs mmm-hmmmm yes siryy.  The guy at Performance (yeah that’s where I went, you got a problem with that?) spent about an hour and a half working on trying to get my power tap wheel to not be a piece of shit, and he got a long way on it too.  It wobbles a lot less than before.  But he said what it really needed was some love back at Saris, since the bearings are gone and the free-hub body is once again shot.  I think that wheel has spent more time at Saris than it has on the road.  Lazy hunk a junk.

My cold has been defeated. I’ve been riding, albeit not as much as I’d like. It’s now Friday and I’m finally feeling good once more and got in a good three and a half hours of Boulder’s finest hills. Next week it’s on, full gas. Time to suffer. Give me all you got Samual Jackson.

(PS it actually isn’t Friday yet)

I think these squirrels were fighting or something.

Paleo-Veganesque Diet

I’ve begun my new eating plan. I unofficially started it about a week ago but I was cheating so badly I can’t really count those days. The new diet plan consists of the following:

1) Fruit
2) Vegetables
3) Grains
4) Legumes
5) Nuts
5) Seafood
6) Whey protein

Not on the list is: chicken, beef, cheese, ice cream, chocolate cake, cheese cake, or a 1lb box of See’s chocolates (all things I cheated with in the last week).

As you can see, this is not a true vegan diet since I’m eating both meat (seafood) and dairy products (whey). I believe a solely plant-based diet is the healthiest way to eat, but I’m afraid of the consequences of not getting enough vitamin b-12 or heme iron, two things that no plant contains in high amounts. Hence the seafood aspect of my diet. As everyone knows, baby clams, oysters, and muscles are the three highest b-12 and heme iron-content foods that exist, far outpacing beef and chicken. I’m throwing in whey protein because I already have a huge bag of it, plus I don’t quite buy the whole “you can get plenty of protein from vegetables” schpeel. Maybe you can get the correct number of grams of protein, but the quality of it will be lower. The BCAA and other amino acids of plants are in much lower amounts than in meat or dairy, something I still believe the authors of the Paleolithic Diet for Athletes got right. Fish and whey are both very dense in BCAAs. But who knows? Maybe we don’t need as much protein as many sports nutritionists think. The Kenyan diet certainly doesn’t call for much protein, but then again that could just be a consequence of being poor, and not at all related to the performance aspect of their diet. They also drink a lot of full-fat milk, something vegans and modern American sports nutritionists both believe to hinder performance. Although, Kenyan cows grazing on grass are much healthier than ours in the industrial farms, so their milk is healthier. Nailing down the perfect diet is harder than you think. Or maybe just harder than I think.

My reason for switching to this high plant-content diet is to get more micro-nutrients in my system so I don’t get sick as often, while also lowering the acidity of my body and muscle inflammation, things that both meat and dairy products significantly raise. Increasing my PH and reducing inflammation should theoretically speed recovery.

I’ve tried going vegan before, but I constantly cheated. I’m hoping to hold strong this time around on my Veganesque diet and see if it actually does keep me healthier and reduce my recovery time in between workouts. As an added bonus, I’ll be significantly reducing my carbon footprint, since animal products are by far the worst thing to buy if you care about the environment.


When you hear the word “scavanger,” the first image that comes to your mind is probably something like this:




…when in fact, this is what you should be thinking of:

The problem with scavenging is that scavengers are disgusting, vile, disease-ridden creatures. I am no exception. Either from the massive quantities of sneezed-on food I’ve taken home, or from eating off one too many dirty plates at the hotel, I’ve gotten sick.

My thoughts: “That old lady probably didn’t cough on her salad. I mean, it looks fine. And her rice and chicken barely seem touched. It would be a shame to see it go to waste, especially since I’m so hungry…”

My last couple posts were pretty upbeat. Things were definitely going my way. I had four jobs (theater, hotel, mover, snow-shoveler), I was in the middle of a well-earned rest week from a solid block of training, my fitness and acclimation to the altitude were going wonderfully, I was scoring pounds upon pounds of free food…life couldn’t have gotten much better. Those were good times. So of course, to keep balance in the universe, everything went to shit.

The snow, while beautiful and monetarily valuable to my snow-shoveling career, shut down my riding at the end of last week. We got dumped on again, like I mentioned, and I couldn’t ride at all on Saturday or Sunday. Not to worry. Just a rest week.

Then I got sick. Just a cold. Not to worry. I’d most likely be over it in a couple days.

Then I got fired at the movie theater because I didn’t want to work while being sick. Not to worry, the job sucked. The conversation over the phone went like this:

Me: “Yeah, I can’t come in tonight cause I’m sick. Can someone else cover my shift?”
One of the 12 managers: “That’s fine. But you’ll have to bring in a doctor’s note tomorrow night.”
Me: “Huh? A doctor’s note for a cold?  Hahaha. I’m not gonna do that.”
One of the 12 managers: “Well you have to, it’s company policy.”
Me: “Well I’m not going to.”
One of the 12 managers: “Ummmm….Okay, well you can call back tonight at 5:30 and talk to the concessions manager, Mr. Cornett.”
Me: “Okay, thanks. Bye.”
One of the 12 managers: “Have a good day, bye.”
Me: “Yeah, you too. Bye.”

Later that day at 5:30…

Me: “Hi, can I speak to, umm, Corrrn…uh, please?”
Drone employee: “Yes, you mean Mr. Cornett?”
Me: “Yeah.”
Drone employee: “Yeah just one sec.”
Me: “Okay.”

Mr. Cornett (now one of 13 managers): “Hello this is Mr. Cornett.”
Me: “Hi, this is Kennett, one of the new employees in concessions.”
One of 13 managers: “Yeah I remember you.  How are you? I hear you’re sick today?”
Me: “Yeah, I was told to give you a call.”
One of 13 managers: “Yeah we’ve got your shift covered but tomorrow you’ll need to bring in a doctor’s note.”
Me: “Crystal told me that that earlier and I’m not going to.”
One of 14 managers: “Well you have to. It’s company policy. Otherwise we don’t know if someone is abusing the system. So you need to bring in a doctor’s note.”
Me: “Uhhh, like I said, I’m not going to do that.
One of 14 managers: “But you have to.”
Me: “What happens if I don’t?”
One of 15 managers: “That would basically mean you’re quitting.”
Me: “Okay. Well I guess I quit then.
One of 15 managers: “Uhhh. Oh. Okay…Well then we’ll have your check mailed out within three days since that’s company policy.”
Me: “Bye.”

I could have worked. It’s not like I couldn’t physically ride the 1 mile there and stand at the popcorn counter and shovel popcorn. I would have lived. But I was sick and knew that being up on my feet until midnight, coughing all over everyone’s popcorn, just would have prolonged the cold and I would have infected about 500 other people. And I sure as hell wasn’t going to go see a doctor to get a god damn note.  I would have liked to have gotten fired for something cooler, but this will have to do.

My cold worsened the next couple days and I didn’t think it would be smart to even go out for an easy spin. The road snow gradually melted away and the temperature began rising, making for some great sunny rides in the mountains had I been able to go train. Torture.  My cold lingered. Then it moved deeper into my lungs throughout the week (the normal routine). I worked real late last night at the hotel and I was up coughing for hours, unable to sleep. I cancelled my shift tonight.  Thankfully the hotel doesn’t require doctor’s notes. Now I’m stuck in my room with my brand new vaporizer spewing steam full blast. This is like the fifth vaporizer I’ve bought. I need to start traveling with one like I do with my box fan so I don’t have to get a new one every time I get sick.  How many blog posts have I written about being sick anyways?

Moral of the story: don’t eat off people’s plates no matter how good the food looks, because that person, more than likely, has hepatitis, leprosy, a cold virus, and acne. Also, don’t shake people’s hands, don’t breath in public places, don’t touch doorknobs, don’t handle people’s dirty plates or utensils, in fact don’t touch anything at all, isolate yourself from all physical contact with people, and never train outside if it’s below 65 degrees.

Sometimes being sick or injured is the best thing for you. Forced rest. At least this way I won’t have already peaked by January.

Working at the Hotel!!!

The last four days have been jam-packed with work at the Boulderado, a four-star hotel where I’m a member of the large wait-staff. We do banquets for parties, serve appetizers for silent auctions and fundraiser-type things, put on “teas” for old ladies, buffets, and holiday dinners. It’s way higher class than any dinner party I’ve ever attended and usually plates or invitations go for $30 or more. I mean, there are TWO forks and TWO spoons per person!!  Come on!

I always get a little nervous when I post something negative or funny about my workplace or a person I’ve recently encountered, so if the management or any of the other employees happen to google my name and come across this blog post, please stop reading right now.

Okay, now that it’s just us I can make fun of those stupid fools all I want. Haha, just kidding. I really only have nice things to say about working at the Boulderado, unlike the movie theater (which actually isn’t even as bad as I once thought). Although a lot of the staff at the Boulderado get their panties in a bunch for what I consider to be small issues, the work environment there is pretty fun and very fast-paced. I have to remember that when you’ve done three hours of hard climbing in the morning, the subsequent endorphin-release that takes place puts you into a blissful state of mind where you don’t really give a damn about anything else for the rest of the day. So if the forks are slightly askew and require re-adjustment (since I suck at setting the tables) I don’t really care when I get scolded for it. It amazes me how easily the other employees seem to get their feelings hurt or become angry when there’s any sort of conflict or petty confrontation with one another. I can understand that the cause of some of the stress is due to the rush and panic to set 150 tables and get all the food ready and served with only six or so staff members, but like I said a lot of the tiny arguments seem to get blown out of proportion. A hard ride certainly takes you down a notch. If everyone on earth was in a constant state of endorphin-flooding or just plain physically tired all the time like a cyclist, the world would have many fewer problems.

Future Money:

The sorority/fraternity part on Friday has been my favorite shift at the Boulderado so far. It had everything a person could want: a chocolate fondu fountain, alcohol, cheese and crackers, and lots of drunk sorority girls…all covered in chocolate from the fountain. The banquet had a two drink maximum for each 21-year-old or older. Last week when the hotel hosted one of these sorority parties and hadn’t had a drink limit, people had been puking all over the place. So this time the hotel was prepared. After being ID’d and receiving a wrist band, the Greeks had to come to me to get their two drink tickets and a sharpie marking on their wrist band to show they’d gotten their tickets (so they couldn’t come back to get more tickets).  And keep in mind that the tickets weren’t free drinks, they still had to buy their drinks.

None of the sorority girls or frat douches knew about the drink limit until they came to me, and they were pretty upset about it when I told them. Almost every person tried to get me to give them extra tickets. Some jokingly and some very serious. For one hour straight I had a giant circle of people around me all pleading and arguing with me to give them extra tickets. “Ahh, come on man, no one will find out.  Just one extra ticket, man.”  “Could you just, like, please give me two more tickets?  Like, no one will know.  Pleeeeeease???” I felt a little bad for them, but at the same time I hate frat guys and the more that people try to peer-pressure me the more I cherish being disagreeable. The girls tried flirting by making pouty faces and stroking my arm while the guys just outright tried to bribe me with money. I couldn’t believe they were willing to dish out $20 just for the opportunity to buy a couple more over-priced drinks. These people were loaded!

Anyways, as the night wore on my new job became to keep the chocolate fountain area clean. There was chocolate everywhere, and since the hotel doesn’t keep garbage cans out in sight of the guests, because that would be low-class, the ground and the table that the chocolate fountain sat upon became the places of choice for everyone to discard their dirty napkins, chocolate-covered fruit, and the millions of shish-kabob sticks used for dunking the fruit in the chocolate. I was kept busy.  At the end of the night my white sleeves looked like they’d been subjected to a full day cleaning outhouses.

The music was loud, the dance floor was packed, the air was hot and muggy, the lights were dimmed, even on the two drink limit the guests still somehow managed to become drunk and disorderly, likely from all the booze they snuck in, and the shenanigans picked up as the night went on. A wine bottle was stolen. A corkscrew disappeared. A frat guy shoved one of the older hotel employees. Some girls got into a fight. Chocolate fruit was thrown.  I soaked it all in, wishing I could ditch my stance at the chocolate fountain and go join in the fun (or at least eat some of the chocolate). Later that night when all the guests left, all my coworkers appeared to be shell-shocked. They complained about the rowdiness and rudeness of the “kids” for the next two days. I thought it was fun, and personally would have been much worse-behaved had I been in their shoes.

New Money:

My first night at the hotel was the Thursday before the sorority party. It was a big dinner party for a group of Boulderites who give micro loans to poor women in Peru (or Africa, according to one of my co-workers whose geography aint so good). On the hors d’oeuvres menu: fried coconut shrimp, chicken casadillas, fetta and spinach-stuffed crisps, those small pieces of toast with fetta, tomato, and basil, and one other thing that I can’t remember right now. They all tasted good. The average age of the attendants was in the 40’s and 50’s, and judging by many of the guests’ attire, which seemed to come from REI, I felt that they were all new money, not the socialite-types more comfortable in mink coats and tuxedos. It was a pretty easy party to manage and I had fun, though it was somewhat boring.

Old Money:

Late Saturday morning was a tea party.  Not breakfast or a brunch, but tea.  Each person got their own tea pot, while the food included scones, fancy little finger sandwiches, and little chocolate deserts. Each table had between five and 10 old ladies, usually some sort of a book club or charity group. The room was packed, as usual, with 140 people, but the ambiance was quiet and relaxed. Two violins and a cello played Christmas tunes while the old ladies sipped on tea and nibbled on the finger sandwiches. I grew extremely hungry and my fake smile turned into a real frown as the afternoon passed by without a lunch. I kept hoping that one of my tables would leave some sandwiches on the platter for me to take back to the kitchen, where I could eat them, but the women kept asking for the leftovers to be boxed up. I started bonking from boredom and hunger about four hours in. I was finally saved by a platter of sandwiches that, at last, made it back into the kitchen, followed by a platter of miniature deserts.  Suddenly all was right with the world once again and I began bussing tables like a mad man. But the tea party was boring. I felt especially bad for the dozen or so little girls whose mothers had drug them along, dressed them up in their best clothes, and forced them to sit upright and act lady-like.  I thought of all the other things a kid should be doing on a Saturday.

The best part about this job: taking home the leftovers. My grocery bill has plummeted.  This is only a mere a sampling of what I’ve scavenged:

Box-o food.

Another box-o food.

Couple pounds of apricots.




About four pounds of bbq chicken.

Two pounds of fancy cheeses.  This is the last time I take home cheese by the way.  Cheese is not optimal cycling food.  I ended up giving most of it to an old man whose driveway and sidewalk I shoveled today.


I collected about 30 miniature half-eaten jam jars from the tea party and combined them into one jar when I got home and voila, a full, free jar of raspberry jam.

I took home a turkey carcass one day and made a huge pot of turkey soup with all the vegetables I had.

Three or four hours of riding in the morning and then on my feet serving hors d’oeuvres until midnight.  Barely awake.

Snow day in Boulder

It snowed eight inches last night.  I woke up to a phone call from a Craigslist person, responding to an ad I posted the night before letting people know all about my extensive experience in the snow-shoveling business.  Everyone has been talking about the coming storm for the past couple days, super excited that it was supposed to snow on Wednesday night and that our 60-degree days were coming to an end.  They’ve been talking about it so much that in my dreams the past couple nights, it snowed.

The woman calling about my Craigslist ad said she’d pay me $20 to shovel her driveway and sidewalk.  Not quite awake yet, I asked her if it had actually snowed, and said that I thought I only dreamed that it did.  She seemed confused.  I came to my sense, realized it must have snowed, and told her I’d do it.  She gave me her address.

I hung up, walked out into the living room and looked outside.  Holy shit.  There was way more snow than I thought.  I got online and typed in her address to see how far away she lived.  Five miles.  It was still blizzarding outside with snow coming down hard.  I made my oats, drank a lot of expensive Whole Foods tea that I paid a lot of money for because it’s loose leaf and therefore much better, read the internet, and waited for it to stop snowing so hard so I could get on my trusty $15 Craigslist mountain bike that’s way too small for me, and ride to South Boulder and shovel her driveway.

It wouldn’t stop snowing so I decided to just get in on anyways at around 10:30.  I had things to do today and couldn’t wait around for the snow to stop.  Plans: 1) use my status at the theater to see a free movie with Phillip, 2) buy more tea at Whole Foods.  I rounded up some warm clothes, strapped the snow shovel to my backpack, and took off for what I knew would be an adventurous day.  I got a lot of stares from people in their warm cumfy cars as I rode down the street in the snow storm with a shovel on my back.  I couldn’t see people staring at me, but I could feel the piercing gaze of their eyes, just like when all the ladies check out my sugarlumps.

My pants, shoes, and everything got soaked with melted road snow, then quickly froze and created a protective ice shell that blocked the cold wind…Nature’s wind breaker.  I got to within half a mile of the woman’s house by the time I’d used up all but my smallest rear cog–the rest had been frozen into a gigantic block of ice.  I spun like a mad man for a few minutes and arrived at what I hoped was the correct house.  The woman wasn’t there, so I shoveled her driveway and hoped that I’d be paid some time in the future.  It only took 12 minutes, so I walked around and knocked on other people’s doors hoping they’d also be too lazy to shovel their own driveway.  Here in Boulder you have 24 hours after a snow storm to clear your sidewalk before you get fined by the city.  But since it was still snowing the clock wasn’t ticking yet.  And the more rational thinkers must have realized that their money would be best spent on my shoveling AFTER it stopped snowing.

I borrowed a couple pots of hot water from someone and un-dethawed my gears so I could ride home.  I’d cancelled my noon movie plans with Philip since it took a lot longer for me to ride out to the snow shoveling job than I’d anticipated.  On the way home, not two blocks from my house by the time my gears were frozen again and I was spinning a ridiculously small mountain bike gear, I spotted another freelance snow shoveler walking the streets.  This was MY turf!  A fight would surely ensue.

As I built up speed to joust the invader in the back of the neck with my snow shovel, I realized it was Philip.  He and his brother had stolen my idea and were out roaming the sidewalks trying to convince old ladies that they needed their driveways shoveled, when the part of the city they were in didn’t even have driveways.  I ditched the bike at home and joined forces with them.

We ended up driving to one of the rich neighborhoods, since rich people are lazy and don’t realize that $20 is a lot of money.  We spent the next couple hours realizing that most rich people are at work during the day, hence the reason they’re rich.  Either that or they were all out shoveling people’s driveways.  Anyways, a few people were home and a few of them (two) wanted their driveways shoveled.  We made $35.  Split three ways that was $9.50 each.  Philip and his brother gave me the bigger split of $10.  Not bad for walking around in the snow on a beautiful white first day of December.

I returned home hungry and ready for the next job: my first night working at the Boulderado Hotel banquet.  I had to wear a tie.  FML.  There were about 150 people in our party, so it was big but everyone was in a good jolly mood.  It was pretty sweet.  I basically just walked around serving horse dervies to cougars all night.  The wine was flowing freely and I’m pretty sure a few of them wanted to take me home.  Though if this happened I was a bit worried someone might break something, what with the whole deal of that osteoporosis thing and all.  Cyclists are known to have low bone density.

Speaking of weak bones, I crashed on my ride home from the Hotel tonight.  It was bound to happen since the roads were covered in ice.  Every good day comes to a crashing end, so I wasn’t too surprised.

The banquet job is far better than the theater since I get to eat and take home lots of really good food.  And I’m looking forward to working tomorrow night: we’re hosting a sorority party.  And with any luck it will snow again so I can go shovel that woman’s driveway for twenty bucks.  The living is easy here in Boulder.  That’s why I’ll have to subject myself to three hours of hard climbing in the morning if it doesn’t snow.

My housemate thought I was crazy, when in fact the real crazy thing is subjecting yourself to a day of 20 minute threshold intervals.

By the way, Ian, I’m totally beating you in the HB teammate blog post stage race this week.