The Shaky Ride

The day started out early at the crack of 9, dripping with anticipation like the sweat that would soon be dripping from my forehead, mixing with sunscreen and accumulated salt and road grime encrusted to my face, dribbling its way down into my eyes and searing them with anger.  My eyes, though now burning, had not enough pain receptors firing in them to notice, since every ounce of attention was being diverted to my legs, lungs, and other internal organs that groaned in agony for me to stop pressing on the pedals, for their bursting point was near and they wouldn’t think twice about leaving me lying dead on the road bleeding out my ears, mouth, and ass.  My mind refused to obey my organs.  The pain I was in was far superior to anal bleeding.

But forget about that for a second and let me get back to the morning and breakfast, which as everyone knows is the most important meal before noon.  I turned on the stove, where my pre-cooked pot of oats was waiting where I’d left it the night before.  Half cup day.  Normally I have a third cup but today was a big day.  Half cup day.  In I poured 15o calories of coconut milk, a chopped banana, cinnamon, salt, a few precious blueberries that were on sale from Argentina.  I wished for walnuts and cranberries but I keep none in the house because they’d cost me a fortune in money and calories.  With my measly 640 calorie breakfast, I consumed over a liter of water and a little under a liter of coffee with almond milk.  Today was a half cup of oats day and a three mug coffee day.  If you’d been watching my breakfast from the window, you’d have known, without me telling you, that the ride was going to be a biggun.

Dressed for a rare warm day, somewhere between 60-and-38 degree, my pockets bulged with goodies and my heart bulged with blood, because if my heart bulged with anything other than blood that would be a serious medical issue that I’d need to check out before riding hard.  With me I carried seven, 150-calorie banana breads, individually wrapped in tinfoil.  In one water bottle resided a lip-smacking concoction of coconut milk/coffee/white sugar/more white sugar/ and cinnamon for a total of 650 calories.  In my bike bag resided three dollars in loose change for a gas station burrito/cappuccino machine combo–the best mid ride bike fuel known to man, assuming you have a strong stomach (the deep fried burrito that is).  (Aside from Hammer Nutrition products, which I am currently out of right now and have to rely on other sources of food).

I’d rested the past two days for this ride.  No riding on Friday and only a 1.75 hr spin on Saturday.  The Shaky ride, as my wise guru coach Sam Johnson calls it, is to be done only once or twice  a month: “Come home shaky.”  Here’s how they go: 5 to 5.5 hours total with the first 3 hours of high zone 2 or low zone 3.  1x 20-40 minute threshold effort.  Then the final hour you attempt to hold the same wattage you held in the first hour.  If you do it right, you can’t hold that wattage and you end up coming home shaking with fatigue, or something like that.  Or maybe you come home shaking your head in wonder of why you put yourself through something like that when the rest of America is sitting down on a nice soft couch watching a Sunday football game while eating a big bag of chips in a heated house with the curtains drawn, roasting their toes next to a fire, waiting for the pizza delivery guy to ring the doorbell, and getting a back rub from their girlfriend, who for some reason in this fantasy enjoys watching football and giving back rubs to lazy overweight slobs who don’t do anything other than watch TV and eat pizza all day…the American dream.

But the reason you do end up going on a shaky ride instead of that is because when you really think about it, that normal life would suck.  It has no pain.  And without pain their is no reason to live, because those comfortable times are quickly discarded from a memory that’s intent on recording only the best, worst, hardest, craziest days.  The neural pathways created during a day of slothing in front of the TV are weak and will vanish before the show is even over.  Conquering pain and creating memories is why I ride.  That, and to inflict pain in others.  Those two reasons.  If this doesn’t make sense to you, just imagine cyclists as those religious fanatics who whip themselves on the back for Christ.  It just feels good to suffer for whatever you believe to be a just cause.  We’ll leave it at that.  Now, onto the suffering!!!

The easy thing about a five or six hour ride is that you don’t really suffer that much at first.  If you do, you’re probably not going to make it to five hours.  So basically for the first two hours I felt at ease, pumping out a shyte ton of watts.  After an hour and a half or riding I’d already covered 40 miles and burned close to 1700 calories.  If you remember correctly, I’d only eaten about 650 for breakfast, so at this rate the food I’d brought along would not be enough.  An emergency stop at Wendy’s was in order.  I picked through my change bag and found the proper amount of  shiny circular discs that would warrant me one crispy chicken sandwich (380 calories) and one small coke (filled in my water bottle at 21 ounces and 250 calories).  The coke I saved for later.  The sandwich I devoured immediately, in pure crispy hydrogenated bliss.

Back on the bike I pumped up the power a bit more in order to make up for the wattage I’d lost during my riding through the city I was currently in, which was somewhere north of Boulder.  Though the first three hours of the ride are the easiest, in terms of perceived exertion, they’re the most mentally strenuous for me since those first three hours determine how my ride will go.  If I can maintain a good power without killing myself, the last two hours will work out fine and I’ll have a good ride.  If the first three hours go poorly, I’m screwed for those last two and I’m doomed to vent and fume over the failed ride for the rest of the week.  It’s almost easier for me to do the last two simply  because I can say to myself: “Just go all out.  Easy as that.”  There’s little conservation required at that stage in the ride and even less thinking, other than the mundane thoughts that pass through one’s head while suffering during a workout (these thoughts are actually unknown to humankind because it’s impossible to remember what you were thinking about while you were going hard).  The closer you get to the end, the more physically demanding and painful it gets.  But at the same time the easier it gets too.  When all you have to do is go as hard as you possibly can, your life is pretty simple and pretty easy.

The wind was windy.  It slammed against my face and stalled my speed to 13 miles an hour on the flats.  I turned a corner and it threw its weight against my side and leaned my bike way over, trying to push me into traffic.  I turned another corner and suddenly sped off at 36 miles an hour, soon reaching for gears I didn’t have.  But mainly the west wind slammed against my side trying to push me into traffic.  The route I took was a big rectangle heading up north, then back south to town where I planned on doing two climbs on Sunshine Road, a steep climb that tops out at 8,000 ft with the last 15 or so minutes of it being a washboard dirt road.  It’s my favorite climb in Boulder and I know every turn and every hard section because, although I’ve only been here three months, I’ve done that climb, or at least sections of it, about 40 times.

Three hours in.  Average watts are now at 304.  Just a warning, I’m going to talk about watts for the rest of the post, so if my un-pro’ness for talking about numbers is to un-pro for you, you’re now warned.  As I was saying, today  (or yesterday actually) was a good day.  I chugged the rest of the bottle of Coke into my unsettled stomach, forcing glycogen preparedness for the hard threshold effort that was soon to come.  I made my way through town, cursing the red lights and pedestrians that jumped out in front of me and reduced my average power.  I had a goal today.  An obsession actually.  A power obsession that I’ve had for a long time: 300 watts for five hours.  I’ve been close before.  Soooo close.  I’ve basically done it before, but just a few watts off or a few minutes off.  I know I can do it, but just haven’t yet, but I was on track for it today.  A ride like this is very hard to have a high average wattage because of the threshold effort, the climbing, and the descending.  The descent means you’re at zero watts for a full 16 minutes, the threshold effort, though a high wattage throughout it, means you’ll burn up your energy five times faster than you would if you were just sitting at tempo while doing 300, and the climbing–at least here–means you’ll be going way above 7,000 ft–the altitude where I can see my power take a nose dive.  Part of me wanted to turn around and just pump out tempo for another two hours and accomplish my goal once and for all and finally be done with it.  But that wasn’t the workout, and the Shaky ride had a purpose that was much sharper than a pure tempo slog.  The purpose of the Shaky ride?  TO FUCK YOU UP.

I began breathing hard about 11 minutes into the climb.  I began wheezing about four minutes later when the road continued steepening past 20%.  18 minutes into the effort and I was averaging 347 watts for the threshold interval, not high at all, but not bad considering the hard riding before hand and the altitude here.  I grimaced hard and went into my big ring for the short 30 second descent before the road went upwards again.  Suddenly I cracked.  I had been good for 19 minutes, then it was all over.  I began crouching lower and lower on my bike, jerking my body up and down to try to get some purchase on the pedals.  My legs were failing and I tried using the rest of my body to make up for it, frantically lurching to and fro like a Carson Miller (no offense intended, Carson, I’m just trying to paint a picture).  I began breathing less and less as the power continued dropping and the glycogen in my legs soon found itself drastically low.  Finally, at 42 minutes, I crested the steepest 30% grade dirt switchback and reached the top of the climb and sucked in air raggedly.  I was now exactly 4 hours into the ride and sitting at 308 watts.  Damn it.  Thought I’d be higher after the climb, but I’d blown up early.  That was alright though.  It was better to go harder for shorter than easier for longer.  I drank the rest of my coconut milk and another banana bread, started hacking and coughing like a smoker, and began the cold descent off the patchy-treed mountain, barren in sections due to forest fires.  I threw up a little from coughing too much as I descended and let the snot and mucus run all over my face in the wind because I was too tired to care.

At the base of the climb I made a quick U turn in the middle of the road and began heading back up.  My legs were barely there.  This was going to be a difficult task–getting back up to 300, because after the descent my average was already down to 297.  I came upon another cyclist, made up ground on him fast at first, then he must have looked back and seen me because the bastard sped up.  My anger swelled and I stood up to catch him.  I hate it when people pull this sort of crap and can’t keep the pace up for more than two minutes.  If you see me coming and want to have a little race, that’s fine but you better be able to maintain your new speed for more than 300 meters.  I got within two bike lengths of him, he looked back at me, stood up and did a half sprint for 20 seconds.  Not cool.  I decided to quit messing around and pass him.  I did it hard and fast, without looking him in the eye or saying a word (that’s what he said?)  I was in no mood for these shenanigans.  My legs’ furry grew for making me ride harder.  I couldn’t slow down now though, since it would look pretty foolish of me to get passed by him after I just cruised by.

Twenty minutes later, the other cyclist long gone by now, I completely blew up.  I could stand for only ten seconds at a time, or less, then I’d fall back into my saddle and pull and strain with my entire body to keep going in somewhat of a straight line.  As I got closer to the top, time slowed down.  I remember thinking I only had 11 minutes to go at one point, and that 11 minutes was not a long time at all.  Those 11 minutes must have taken about 17 hours to pass.  I hadn’t bonked, but I could not go hard anymore.  280 watts. 273.  260.  240 ALL OUT.  If an alien space craft had come down and threatened to blow up the earth if I didn’t increase my watts by 5, there’d have been nothing I could have done.  If an investment banker threatened to destroy the economy and send our country and world into a downward spiral so hopelessly deep that we’d never have a chance to see the light of day again if I didn’t increase my wattage by 2, there would have been nothing I could have done because my legs—oh wait that already happened.

I had reached failing point.  I almost started zigzagging back and forth across the road once I’d gotten to the dirt section with multiple +20% sections.  I refrained somehow.  I couldn’t stand for more than four pedal strokes now.  I’d plop back into my seat, heavily…defeated.  Or maybe I’d defeated the ride.  Depends on how you look at it.  I wasn’t breathing anymore.  There was no need to breath hard during low zone 2.  I just grit my teeth and cursed my legs to continue onwards.  “Damn ye beasts!! Mush, I say! MUSH!!  We must make camp before nightfall for there’s a storm a brewin’ that will take the toes off all but the strongest of ye’!  Mush, I say.  MUSH!!”  My dogs had no bark left in them, only whimpers.

I got to the top, somehow managing to ride up the last 30% switchback at 250 watts without falling over.  I wish I had it on video because that was some serious Peterson Grimace Face that got me up it.  I ate two more banana breads and began coughing again.  My lungs were fried.  I put on all my warm clothes for the descent and immediately felt like I’d ridden myself into sickness.  If it were possible to ride-induce the flu, I did it.  I felt so incredibly achy, nauseous, weak and tired that I began doubting the likelihood that I’d make it to work that evening.  But a 5,500 kilojoul ride requires some serious food.  And serious food comes from Ras Kassa’s Ethiopian Restaurant, so I hustled down the mountain, did one all out sprint at the base for the hell of it to see what I could do (not much), got home, made a smoothie, showered, ate some oats I’d pre-cooked, and rode to work within 40 minutes of getting home.  I got to work 15 minutes late, but at least I got there, which was an accomplishment in itself.   The food there was worth slogging through five hours of waiting tables, and I managed to keep my shaky legs from buckling, save for one near fall while carrying a pitcher of water.  I slept hard that night.

After the ride.  Lookin good, feelin good…

NOT.

The Cast

I’ll start out with Joe and Allan, then go alphabetically

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Alan Schmitz is the president of the Hagens Berman Cycling team and will also be working on the road this season as a mechanic/sougnier/general logistics for many of our bigger races. He gets things done.  Like making sure our team has money and gear and ensuring our ability to get to races, like that one race that both Joe and Alan know everyone (including Kennett) really want to do and should do, so it should definitely be on the schedule this year instead of that other race.  The first thing one might notice about Alan is that he is extremely happy the majority of the time. Even when Alan isn’t happy, he appears to be happy and is almost always smiling. The second thing one might notice about Alan is that he’s much taller than another Alan on the team, who’s been forced to don the name “Tiny Alan,” despite being six feet tall. Even though Alan is not part of the racing squad, he’s a fast man on the bike himself and a racer, like everyone is at HB.  That includes the entire office that Alan works at in the Hagens Berman office building.  Even the janitors race there.  Words of advice from Alan: “Focus, Kennett. Focus.”

THE Joe Holmes, team director.  Oh man where do I start. I think I can pretty much sum Joe up with quotes alone. Here we go: “How you doin?” “I got in shape…today.” “When you see the cars up ahead start echeloning, that’s when you know there’s a strong cross wind. Keep an eye out for it.” “You’re not playing with a full deck.” “Really?” “Typical, Fuckin Prius in the fast lane.” “Just sayin’.”  “My coach is Weather.com.” “You’ll here me say it throughout the season…” “Dirt nap.”  “Buckeyes.” “Be proactive, not reactive.” You only have so many bullets.” “My bark’s worse than my bight.” “Just flow into it.” “I’m all about second chances.”  “You’ve gotta, like…” “I wish that I knew then what I know now.” “Really?” “Through and off.” “Smarter, not harder.”  “You’ve gotta learn how to dial it back.”  “Trust me, I’ve been there before. It may not seem like it but I know what I’m talking about.” “You’ll hear me say this again…” “Fuck.” “What the fuck.” “Really?” “Nutella on dark chocolate.”  “Pro.” “Quadshot.” Joe, like Alan, gets things done.  He likes to get things done fast, so if he emails you, you have precisely 13 minutes to respond or else he’s pissed.  Three quick facts about Joe: he’s the best driver in the caravan and will risk dozens of lives to get you back into the race after a crash or a flat, he lives on an island, and he rides more than most of the guys on the team.  He can be a hard man to get to know at first, but once you do know him he’s a good man to know.

 

Chris Wingfield, AKA Winger, AKA wingerstudios.com, AKA fake Candian #1, also lives on an island. But it’s a better island than Joe lives on because it has a really good pastry bakery, among other things (electricity and pluming). Winger spends approximately 2/3 of his life on a ferry, commuting between Seattle and Bainbridge Island. The other third of his time is spent instagraming photos on Twitter. Winger appears to be a red-blooded American like you and me: he’s arrogant, not very polite, and likes to make fun of others, but if you look closely there are some subtle differences that reveal his true identity: he only drinks espresso, he over-pronounces things so you can understand him clearly (not American-like at all) and he listens to NPR. No, he’s not gay, he’s Canadian. Barely. Just barely.  Winger has been on the team for the past four or five years, but made the jump to the elite squad this year and is chomping at the bit to show his strength, which has always been there.   He’s tuning it further this winter by training hard every day and not eating popcorn late at night.  Right Winger?

Cody Campbell is more Canadian than Winger can ever nightmare to be. First of all, he lives in Canada. Second of all, he lives in a log cabin with no windows, catches beavers with his bare teeth while out snow-shoing/ice skating in blizzards, and his cologne, tooth paste, shampoo, chamois cream, and maple syrup are all made with 100% natural maple syrup, not the high fructose corn stuff like we have here. Cody is known by many as the guy who started out last season with the Black Plague, which unfortunately just made its way to Canada after roughly 700 years since it hit Europe way back in the dark ages. Other things Cody just found out about include: typewriters, the Backstreet Boys, WWII, Mexico, and Apple (not the computer company, the fruit). It may take a while for news to reach up north, but Cody is quick in the mind and the legs and will be co-captain of the team this year.  Cody’s race knowledge and experience from his time spent with Trek Livestrong will be invaluable this year as we venture into bigger, harder races than we’ve done before.

Colin Gibson tore the cat 2 Cascade Classic up SO badly last summer that the race promoters tried forcing a mandatory cat 1 upgrade mid-race during his time trial. Colin, unlike Steven and Ian, is a college graduate and is reaping the benefits of his hard-earned degree by teaching spin classes at Cycle U. This is THE college grad/cat 1 cyclist’s dream come true (assuming Starbucks isn’t hiring, which it never is). Colin likes to make jokes, like a few of us do on the team, and is personally my favorite person to tell jokes to because he always laughs at them, possibly out of politeness or possibly because he’s laughing at me for thinking the joke I told was funny. As an all-around extremely thin strong man, Collin performs well in sprints as well as climbing and will therefore have the entire weight of the team resting on his shoulders this season as both a GC rider and crit sprinter. Colin, don’t fuck this up.

Dan Bechtold, also fondly known as “Danland” is quite possibly the most intellegint person on the team. After all, he’s the only person on the team with a PHd, unlike Steve and Ian who haven’t even graduated college yet!  (Haha, can you imagine the shame?  Because I sure can’t.)  Dan enjoys counting salmon sperm (or maybe eggs), teaching college, studying for the MCATS, being married, and being extremely confused and lost 100% of the time. Dan spends the majority of his days inhabiting Danland, a far off place with soft elevator music playing in the background and long, never-ending hallways painted with soothing earth tones.  His strolls through the hickory-perfumed halls of Danland can be marathon events, so it’s best to keep a close eye on him if time is of the essence, which it always is.  Dan is the fastest time trialist on the team, and I believe he harnesses the power it takes to smash a mind-numbing time trial by already having a numb mind (tired from thinking of the chemistry of salmon sperm). Dan is currently trying to fatten himself up by eating garden burgers. It has not worked yet.

Danny Healy is the fist new guy on the team that I met this year. After yelling out his name in the airport I was startled to see the guy sitting in front of me look up and say, “I’m Danny”– the reason of my startledness being that this guy was sporting not just a pierced ear, but a mohawk! Definitely not the typical northwest cyclist look.  Maybe this would distract Joe from the mullet I was planning on growing. Excellent.  Another reason I like Danny is that he’s not small.  As bike racers, we’re all obviously paranoid with our size, and take all possible opportunities to make fun of each other for being either too big or too small.  As a sprinter and another Bigguns on the team, Danny will help make me appear to be smaller, ie. skinnier, ie. faster.  One more thing we have in common is that Danny hails from one of the nicest training grounds in the States, Santa Barbara.  As you all know, I trained in and around SB last winter and will therefor be living vicariously through Danny this season, imagining riding past girls in bikinis playing volleyball, picking oranges off trees, smashing the SB Worlds ride, and generally having fun in the sun all day long.

David Fleishhauer.  Jesus Christ that’s a hard last name to spell.  It’s easy to say though, “felsh-hour.”  Judging from his jovial, kind, and team-player personality, I imagine David will live up to his name and spend every waking “hour” give ever last drop of “flesh” to the team.  But enough praise for one person, David is another crit specialist that better help win us some damn bike races or else he’ll be out on the street with his two pet Chinchillas.  Sam Johnson, former HB teammate, was a guinea pig man.  David takes it one or maybe even two steps further and has become a Chinchilla man, adopting a married lesbian Chinchilla couple.  I say “married” because there’s some obvious sexual tension going on between the two, and since this blog is Hollywood PG-rated, sexual partners must be married in mattress money.  Like any good cliché’d pair of lesbian lovers, there’s a butch alpha female (the man) and her hot chick trophy wife (did I just call a Chinchilla hot?)  When I was sleeping over last week the butch one tried to bite me and the hot one let me tickle her belly.  Hopefully after this paragraph the key words you remember about David are: Chinchilla, Lesbian, Flesh, Tickle.

Ian Crane (craneimal) is the only teammate I have that can compete with me in terms of blog hits.  In fact, I think he’s currently outdoing me, though I suspect it’s mainly due to people’s failed search results for “Ian Crane’s teammate superior blog Kennetron5000.”  That extra T in my name throws people off.  Ian is a fast sprinter and won many bike races last year.  But he’s growing thinner and thinner by the day, hoping to become a Chris Parish in the mountains and win the sprint on the final day of the Tour of the Gila.  Ian is attending university while bike racing, which is always a difficult task.  I find it hard enough responding to emails when I’m training, so Steve and Ian’s (and whoever else on the team is taking classes) commitment to making themselves smarter is a thumbs up in my book.  Anyways, enough about Ian since, like his blog, you were probably searching for me instead: my favorite animal is the sea lion, followed by the wolf, followed by the deinonychus (though my power animal is the horse, of course), my favorite fruits include but are not limited to: water mellon, mango, pineapple, CRISP apples, not soggy ones, tangelos, grapefruit with ALL the white stuff removed, coconut (not a fruit), and peaches.  Man I love peaches.  If I could survive on a single fruit, it would be peaches.  I’m really glad their not the size of grapes, because that would really suck.  If that were the case and it took forever to eat your fill (like it does with grapes and other types of small berries) I’d always be like, “Man, what if peaches were the size of apples?  That would be sooo awesome.  Think of how much peach you could eat.  I bet there’d even be such an over abundance of them we’d have to can them or something.  Can you imagine?  Haha.  I bet they’d even taste better if they were bigger too.  A world where peaches were apple-sized would be a world with no problems.”

Gabe Varella is very voracious ven it comes to vanquishing villians on Valentine’s day.  I sort of wish Gabe were German (go back and read that last sentence as a German).  I wish Gabe were German not just so I could secretly laugh at everything he said because of his funny accent, but because I like and respect the German People, especially for what they attempted back in the 1930s (the first semi-successful anti-tobacco movement).  Gabe, aside from the quizzical German expression he portrays in this portrait, is sadly not from Germany, but is a country boy from a French city in Idaho.  Gabe is another fast sprinter (how many damn sprinters do we have on the team this year anyways?  It’s almost like we’re trying to win some races or something).  Gabe proved his emense strength last September at Univest with his constant attacks and endless surplus of energy, which of course resulted in him not getting a result there (though it did help Ian get 4th in the crit).  When harnessed properly, Gabe’s strength will see him on top of the podium quite a few times this upcoming season.  But even more importantly: Gabe knows how to change a tire on a car!  This will likely result in him being on the squad for every single race the team does (even overlapping races), just in case we get a flat.

Jesse Reams is our third and most Canadian Canadian. He lives somewhere so far north it’s actually south of the Canadian/US border (like other-side-of-the-globe-north).  I think I’ve just about reached my quota of Canadian jokes for this blog post, so maybe I’ll write something serious about Jesse.  Jesse began cycling at an early age of two and a half, when his family migrated with the caribou for the summer of ’89.  He was born with stunted legs, much like the stunted trees hundreds of miles south of his igloo at the tree line.  Jesse couldn’t keep up with his tribe on foot (children past the age of two are expected to care for themselves in Canada–except health care and education and other socialist regimes).  His parents devised a pair of wooden skis into these sort of roundish objects that could travel over dirt instead of snow.  These became the first Canadian wheels.  Although the wheel is still being studied and perfected by Canada’s finest scientists (“are there infinite sides or one side,” being the main question), Jesse’s “wheel skis” were a huge success in helping him in the summer migration, as well as building his legs big and strong for a career as a burly strong-man cyclist.  Strong enough for him to eventually WIN the Canadian U23 road championships last year.  Take a gander, folks.  This is one Canadian that will be “migrating” across the finish line with his arms in the air.  Get it?  See what I did there?

Jon Hornbeck (Bro-Cal) is from So-Cal, bro.  He is a former motocross racer, so this whole bike racing thing seems a bit slow, a bit lame, a bit boring, and a bit nerdy.  There are no 40-foot gaps to jump, no speeds in excess of 100 mph, and no cool pads and back braces to wear.  But what bike racing lacks in rock n’ roll, it makes up for in Euro techno, which I’m guessing is Jon’s secretly favorite music genre, judging by that big Euro hair.  Jon is a newcomer to the sport, but from what I’ve been told he’s taken no time in smashing legs and forgetting names.  Jon doesn’t know who anyone is in the domestic (or Euro) pelotons, so it’s going to be fun watching him try to chop one of the Jacques-Mayne brothers or lining up behind Zirbel in a technical crit.  Not that I have ever done either of those things and regretted it.  Jon is in for a year of learning, but his motocross attitude and aggression will likely turn some heads as well.

Logan Owen (AKA White Bread) probably has his own Wikipedia page, so you can just go to that if you really want to know about him.  If you’re too lazy to go to Wikipedia, here’s the rundown: he’s won 71 National Cyclocross championships and 39 other national championships, he lives on an island (the same one as Joe), he enjoys frequenting the state of Milwaukee, the country of Brussels, and the Ocean of Lake Michigan, he knows that Indian food comes from Asia somewhere, he’s not at all gullible, he wears a gold cross on a chain when he races (pro), he’s coached by Joe, which means he does 17 hours of through and off by himself every week, he’s only 16 and bike racing really hurts, and he was probably faster than you five years ago.  Logan was punched in the face during a race last year (by a Canadian no less) and instead of punching back and causing a crash, or crying about it, Logan road off the front and won solo!  No just kidding, but can you imagine if that were true?!!!?  He did ride off the front of many Belgian races last season, truly putting a Bremerton stamp on the ass of Belgium.  Well done, Logan.  Now finish your homework.

Steve Fischer is basically the new Lang on the team (this is a good thing, as Lang was the most respected member of the team in recent years).  As team captain, we can go to Steve with any issues we may have with SRMs, bike mechanical issues, height issues, racing issues, training issues, teammate issues, cyclocross issues, etc.  Steve has worked his way up from a junior with Hagens Berman, and although he still has two or three more years of U-18 competition left, he’s decided to tackle the older kids’ races with us instead.  Although his head isn’t nearly as large as Lang’s, he’s equally smart and tactful when it comes to strategory.  I’m not really sure what Steve’s strengths are.  I know he can spint (like everyone else on the team except me) and he can climb too.  He used both of these skills to win the” fourth group on the road” sprint at the Cascade Lakes stage 2 of the Cascade Classic.  I thought he was leading Ian and I out, but we were too tired and neither of us could come around him.  That sounds awkward.

My thoughts on our team this year: we’re stronger and better organized than we’ve ever been.  It will be a turning point.  I’m excited to see these guys at the Agoura training camp and share some laughs after we attempt to crush each others souls up that one climb we always do where Joe says to keep it holstered just so he won’t get dropped but we never do keep it holstered because winning that climb on day #1 of training camp=pro contract.

Wingerstudios.com Gravitec camp photos

Wingerstudios.com has something like 50GB of media from this weekend, most in the form of video. Chris has released a snippet of photos from our training day at Gravitec. So now after you’ve read the book, you can see the movie and all your creatively preconceived thoughts and ideas of what we were doing will go down the drain as imagination takes a shotgun to the chest and visual stimulation turns your brain to mush. (Ah, who am I kidding, the movie is ALWAYS better than the book, just look at the sales if you don’t agree).

Randy asked, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you trust your teammates with your life.”  I thought everyone would hold up a 10. Not the case. We should do the same test at the end of the year and see if we changed.

Wingerstudios.com getting some quality portraits of “Bro-cal” Jon (it’s a take on So-cal. Get it?)

Human chain exercise. Goal: go inbetween Ian’s legs as many times as possible.

Everyone was fine with ascending 100 ft of rope, all out tug of war, and high-impact trust falls, but it was very quickly brought to Randy’s attention that we could NOT handle one more second spent forming discussion circles and squatting like this. A cyclist’s knees are ever so precious and ever so delicate.

If we had things my way, we would have done tug of war for 3 or 4 hours straight. I wish I could do this everyday. It just isn’t the same without my teammates, and tying a rope to a tree is just pointless (as I’ve found out in the past couple days).

There was a strategy, and realizing that was the point of the exercise, but some of us preferred to just pull extra hard instead. From the looks of it, Gabe might have been one.

I just want to point out here that Ian and Winger’s strategy relied on Jesse being a behemoth. Come on guys, this is TUG of war, not lying down of War. (To be fair, I spent a good deal of time on my back too–but that’s only because my back is my strongest muscle).

Back inside where it’s not snowing (it was snowing earlier, you just couldn’t see it in the pictures). Jesse’s thoughts (far right), “Did I forget to order maple syrup on my carnitas beaver burrito?” (He’s canadian in case you couldn’t tell from the picture, or the joke.)

The most infuriating exercise of the day: Nuclear Ping Pong Balls. Objective of the game was to use those strings/rubber bands to move the can of balls across the room and dump them out into another can without spilling any. Stipulations included no one being allowed to touch the can, go inside the rope circles, or grasp the strings anywhere but the very ends between two little knots. Lesson’s learned: patience, the art of leadership, and the proper use of the word “fuck.”

Colin reverting to his marching band days.

Added complications included making Steve mute, and then blind. We decided he’d be better off stepping out of the way since people with handicaps aren’t useful to society in any way, shape, or form. (Was that the lesson we were supposed to take away from this Randy?)

Joe’s thoughts: “Nutella on dark chocolate…mmmm.” Dan’s thoughts: “Outside his buckyball home, one molecule overheard another molecule saying, ‘I’m positive that a free electron once stripped me of an electron after he lepton me. You gotta keep your ion them.'”

Burrito break.

Object of game: to get all 7 members of the team standing atop the milk crate at the same time for 10 seconds. Our team DOMINATED this event and set a new Gravitec record of 35 seconds. The other team never figured it out. Hahaha, stupids.

Our team decided the weekend wasn’t homo-erotic enough, so we all piled on top of David for fun.

Getting some practice for the trust fall. One person stood in the center, made themselves rigid, and let their body be passed around the circle. Sounds kind of like last night with…..I shouldn’t finish that sentence.

Randy leading us on the trust fall.  Logan’s thoughts: “I swear to god if I get hurt the week before cyclocross world’s…”  Cody’s thoughts: “Gosh darn it, how did I forget to order poutine on my burrito?”

The trust fall off a 5.5-foot fork lift platform. I thought this was one of the most exciting drills we did. Everyone came to the consensus that the actual fall wasn’t that bad, and that we all felt more nervous about having to catch the person falling. It may not look like much, but falling straight onto one’s back at that height would mess you up pretty good (which I’ve done, only it was 15 feet not 5). I’d say the only mishap was when David’s chin went into my eyebrow. He had a headache for an hour. My eye was already pretty messed up so I didn’t feel a thing.

This was probably the most bizarre of the drills. “Helium Stick” is designed to get the group moving in the same direction, an objective much harder than it sounds. We all started out (fingers only) by holding the stick at chest level and attempting to lower it to the ground, everyone maintaining contact with the PVC pipe the entire time. At first, somehow the stick began rising (hence the name) and I thought maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention while the rules were being explained and that the object of the game was to raise the stick over our heads. We got things under control eventually, though I’m still unsure why this was so hard. I repeatedly told everyone, “On the count of three, just move your hands down, god damn it!” This just shows that while an individual has control over themselves, one cannot force movement in others, it must be coached.

“Okay guys, the object of this game is to not fall and kill yourselves.”

Most of the team was surprisingly bad at rappelling, though no one had any real fear of height, just some slight nervousness. Steve here demonstrates good form, minus the steal grip on the rope above him.

After an hour and a half of rappelling, we finally get to the final drill of the day. Here’s how it went: Joe and Alan both ascended 100 feet of rope, got lowered, and then climbed up a separate tower, got “stuck or injured” and required rescue by their team (teams of 6). Each teammmember was required to climb 100 feet of rope (using ascenders), then send one person up to “rescue” the Joe or the Alan, and then once the rest of us were finished climbing the 100 feet of rope, we were to lower them both down using a pulley system. Our team dominated, btw.

Not pictured is the image of Joe and Steve being lowered, which is not appropriate for this blog. I like to keep things rated R, not NC-17.

Team weekend

All 13 of us Hagens Berman riders traveled to the pristine northwest, the best corner of the country, this Friday and Saturday for a team sponsor camp/get to know one another weekend. Ian had a great blog post at the end of last year that introduced the cast of characters in his 2011 play. It was a great idea, but implemented about nine months too late. So I’m going to do it right this year and give a brief rundown of my teammates before the season is over. But first, a quick recap of the camp’s activities. (That was like when NPR talks about three or four interesting things and then says, “But first the news.” I always wonder why they do that because it makes the news seem extra boring).

Friday Morning: I met Dan at the airport. He’d forgotten to bring my pedals that he’s continuously forgotten to mail to me since Gila last year. He also almost forgot to catch the plane and drove half way to work before turning around to the airport. We had many cups of coffee while we waited for Danny and Jon to arrive from sunny southern California. To eat: oranges and some free samples from Starbucks.

Friday Morning-Evening: David and Ian picked the four of us up, took us Alans’ house (HB HQ) and everyone met for the first time. I took the opportunity to sew up the armpits of my favorite argyle sweater that I was currently wearing. Later, we crammed into the team van and dove to the Hagens Berman law firm in downtown Seattle. We took a high speed elevator up to the 34th floor and drank water from pitchers that contained the largest ice cubes any of us had ever seen. The next couple hours were spent listening to our Blue and Shimano sponsors tell us about all the cool equipment we’d be riding this year. Our eyes bulged with the excitement of school children on Christmas morning. We then got our feet molded to a pair of our new Shimano shoes, did movie camera interviews with Winger, and talked to Joe about our goals and aspirations for the 2012 season. Finally, when we were all about to pass out from hunger, Ian, Alan, and David came through for us with a box of pastries. The day was saved and we remained concious while Joe gave us a powerpoint presentation about the mission of the team, the races we’d be doing, and all that jazz. He also touched on why Adrian, Sam and Chris succeeded in getting pro contracts the past three years. What I took away from it was this: Adrian=smart, cool, and calm. Sam=Sam. Chris=really hairy. (Of note, Ian is terrible at catching grapes in his mouth, Jon has a girlfriend who calls every 87 seconds, and Jesse is a REAL Canadian, unlike Cody and former HBer, Spencer).

Friday Evening: After Joe finished the slide show up Ian and I ate the last dougnut, having guilted Joe into not wanting it (a first success for us in asking Joe if he “really needed that”). We said goodbye to our view from the past five hours, which had transformed into an amazingly beautiful picturesque sunset of downtown Seattle (which was below us since we were king of the castle), and then we took the high speed elevator down to the parking garage and started stripping off our clothes in the dark, cold cement cave 100 feet below ground. We began adorning ourselves with the nicest clothes any of us owned, but not before we realized that the van’s front tire was completely flat. Let’s get things straight here: we changed into our nice collared shirts, ties, and slacks, for dinner with out title sponsor and then we crawled under the van and began attempting to change the flat. After a good 15 minutes we realized that car tires don’t have tubes like bike tires, so we decided to let Gabe take control of the situation. Most of the guys left to walk half a mile to dinner, which we were already an hour late for, and more than enough of us stayed to work on the tire and document our own idiocy–Wingerstudios.com will have some quality footage I’m sure.

Friday Evening still: The five of us who’d taken care of the flat tire arrived to dinner way too late, for the appetizers had already been arriving! We were pretty well covered in grease and dirt from finally successfully changing the tire/wheel. The restaurant we were eating at was a very fancy Italian place, and our title sponsor, Steve Berman, of Hagens Berman, was treating us to an amazing dinner with bottle after bottle of wine and, like I said, appetizers aplenty. The appetizers did NOT STOP. The waiters were actually taking away still-full trays of appetizers to make room for more appetizers. I was in heaven. No, it was better than that. It’s like I’d died and gone to heaven, then died in heaven and gone to a better heaven. I had pasta with mussels, one and a half chocolate and cream deserts, and a cappuccino that was so fluffy I thought I was drinking a feather pillow (okay that doesn’t sound as good as I thought, but it was damn fluffy). Dinner was over much too quickly and Steve Berman said goodbye for the night, all of us greatly appreciating him flying in from Salt Lake City to have dinner with us. Words cannot express how grateful we all are for him funding this team and our dreams (words probably can express it, but they’d take up more than you’d care to read). It was great to finally meet him and having the honor of sitting right next to him at dinner, which Alan suggested.

Friday Night: we went to our hotel and went to sleep at a very reasonable hour because we had to be up early the next day.

Saturday Morning: Alan picked us up from our hotel and took us to the ferry. Food included: bagels, cream cheese, oranges, juice, and scones made from scratch by his girlfriend
.
Saturday Morning a little later: We got off the ferry, something that Jon and Danny had never done before, and had coffee in Bainbridge. I had chi for some reason, thinking that maybe today I’d try to go easy on the caffeine since I’d already had three cups at the hotel. This did not last for long.

Saturday Late Morning-Evening: We began the festivities at another one of our sponsor companies, Gravitec. Randy Wingfield, the owner of the fall-protection and training company for vertical safety in dangerous workplaces, had set up an amazing day for us to learn about leadership, improve our senses of observation and listening, build trust amongst the team, and basically just get us all working as one. It was much more valuable than I could have anticipated and a lot of fun as well. We did things like tug of war X4, human chain drills, puzzles and problem-solving competitions, rappelling, ascending (ropes), a trust fall off a fork lift, and eating and drinking coffee, since we’d gotten too much sleep the night before we needed coffee to keep us awake. For lunch: burritos, chips, salsa, veggies, snack packs, and a bunch of other tasty stuff.

Almost everything we did at Gravitec that day involved competition. We were split up into teams and put against each another for almost every exercise. It did a great job illustrating how competitive each one of us is, and it was a bit scary to see just how mad I got when I was on a losing team, which reminded me of how depressed and angry I can get when a race goes poorly–something I believe I need to work on this year. The other main thing that I took away from the day was a completely new outlook on how leadership works. As you know, I’ve been trying and failing with my attempts to make change, even small change, in the people I’ve been encountering lately. But after today, I came to these conclusions:

I think that in order to be a good leader you need to be able put yourself in someone else’s shoes and be able to think about what they’re thinking about, much like a good writer will do. Usually what people are thinking about mainly involves themselves, how they appear, what others may be thinking of them (human nature and something I’ve been aware of for a while), and when the situation involves problem, most people think about what everyone else is doing wrong. As a leader, knowing what’s going on in your team’s mind is crucial. And as a cyclist, every person on the team is a leader at some point, requiring that everyone knows how everyone else thinks. There is no quarterback and since we don’t have race radios, there really isn’t even a director for us to talk to unless we head back to the caravan, which is almost always just for bottles. In bike racing, decisions are made by the individual and most of them are snap decisions.

How those snap decisions are made, though, is where the team dynamic comes into play. A good team dynamic requires that every person trusts every other person, knows everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, cares about the team’s goal for that particular race, and cares about their teammates and team enough in order to completely sacrifice their own personal goals for the team’s mission to be carried out.

One thing that I seem to forget when it comes to decision-making is that there’s a time limit. If there was no time limit, democracy might work better than it currently does. One of our exercises was to manipulate a system of strings in order to move a can full of ping pong balls into another can way across the room. The make-believe scenario was that the ping pong balls were radioactive waste and we had to save the world by removing the waste to a safe area (the sun?). The pressure was on because we were competing to do it faster than the other team. If we’d been given an hour to talk about it, I’m sure a group consensus, with no true leader dictating the discussion, would have take form and we could have agreed on one or two options, slowly and cautiously tried them, talked about more solutions, tried those, and finally, six hours later, accomplished the task without spilling the radioactive balls.

But, like I said, time mattered. Decisions within even six-person group won’t happen for a LONG time unless a few people take control. A leader or two was necessary, and everyone else needed to shut up and listen. I don’t like the idea of one person having more power than another, especially when I think my way is better, but this simple game certainly re-opened my eyes to the value of a good leader: someone who doesn’t necessarily have all the ideas, but instead: someone who has the ability to recognize a good idea, get the group working together quickly and efficiently, and put those ideas into action without an argument occurring. As our instructor, Randy, put it…okay I can’t really remember how he put it, but it was something like “recognizing and harnessing the qualities in people.” I like that.

The day at Gravitec left everyone sore and tired, hitting us especially hard since we’d all gotten way too much sleep and rest the night before, making our central nervous systems groggy and listless. Randy took us to a fantastic Thai restaurant where I ate approximately 11 times more than anyone else, then we went to a bar down the street where I got my second ice cream of the night, succeeding in my weekend goal of living it up for to the max before it’s back to the starvation diet in Boulder. Some of us took the ferry back to Seattle and spent the night at David’s house in a room with a rambunctious pair of chinchillas, which are nocturnal. Fortunately we all crashed to sleep immediately from all the hard upper body work we’d done at Gravitec. I’m still sore and I’m sure everyone else is too.

Sunday I flew home. This was the best possible way to kick off the 2012 season and I’m growing more excited about the team every day. I’ve always been very optimistic about each upcoming year I’ve raced, but none compares to this year. The team is going to crush it; it’s the strongest, most organized, focused, and determined group of guys we’ve ever had and it’s going to be one hell of a year. Thank you Alan, Joe, and all of our sponsors for taking the team to the next level. I’ll leave you with this:

Kennett talks about oats

(How I got from “what’s your favorite race of the year” to this, is beyond me).

There’s always time to think about how there’s no time to think

I miss-read my flight information last night and ended up arriving at the airport an hour earlier than needed. So I’ve got some time to burn and some thoughts to think. Last night while I was working at the Ethiopian restaurant, I glanced at the clock at 7:30 and, for whatever reason, thought that it said 8:30. An hour later I looked at it again and saw that it was still 8:30, and realized my mistake. What this meant was that I had just lived an extra hour of life. An in-between segment of time, sandwiched like an invisibly thin slice of deli meat between two thick pieces of bread, un-noticed by the entire world except the person eating the sandwich, who is extremely perplexed as to why their plain bread sandwich tastes like it has a roast beef center.

The concept of time came about later that night as well, when I set and re-set my alarm for 4:30 AM, making doubly sure that it was indeed set for AM and not PM, and that I left the sound on so I’d wake up. It’s our team’s sponsor camp/get to know each other weekend. We have some big plans for the upcoming season and some exciting things going on this weekend as well, which I can only hope includes an all you can eat eating contest at Home Town Buffet. I will win the S outa that S.

When my alarm went off this morning I had a strict time plan for leaving the house no later than 4:50, to ride my bike downtown to the bus station, where I’d catch the bus to the airport in Denver. The temperature of my oats delayed things by about 10 minutes, but I got to the bus station on time anyways. 9 minutes early actually.

Finally, with the time obsession over for a little while, I had time to reflect on all the time I’d been dealing with as I attempted to drift off to sleep for the hour-thirty bus ride. Sleep did not come, likely from the two giant cups of coffee I’d consumed (coffee being another time-expander, kind of like miss-reading the clock-miss). My thoughts began on the subject of moving and living in new places. I began wondering how it was possible that I’ve been in Boulder for two months now, and can already feeling the nomadic athlete’s foot in my souls itching away at my feet. Just two months ago I was on this same bus, heading from the airport up to Boulder with a backpack, a duffle bag, and a bike, and without a clue where I was going to live or if I’d be able to find a job in time before my money ran out and I had to head back to my parent’s house with my tail between my legs. Luckily for me, though, moving is a lot easier than for most people. Not having spent more than four months in one place in the past three years, I’ve successfully avoided creating any concrete social network to tie me down. No real job, no girlfriend, no friends…man life is good when you’re a nomad. Jokes aside, it’s pretty satisfying to be able to pack your life on your back, head off to a new place, and make a name for yourself.

The name I’ve made for myself is not at all what I had hoped for back when I was in high school. It’s hard to live up to your dreams, though surprisingly non-disappointing when you don’t, since your dreams constantly change. My life goals back in high school were to A) ride my bike down to Costa Rica, B) become a professional rock climber and or white water kayaker and or runner, C) write for the National Geographic about my professional climbing/kayaking/running, and D) at some point in my life, go live and hunt with a wolf pack for a year or two up in Alaska. Only one of these things remains as a goal of mine, so while the past Kennett may be disappointed to learn I’m no longer on his chosen path, present Kennett is okay with things for now.

I don’t think it’s ever healthy to be fully satisfied with things though. You know in movies where someone says, “I have no fear of death; I’ve lived a full life with no regrets and achieved everything a man can hope for.” Usually he escapes said impending death and lives happily ever after, but regardless, I don’t buy it. Being completely satisfied with one’s life would mean that if you died tomorrow, you wouldn’t really care. And if this is the case, you might as well just get it over with today and shoot yourself in the head. This is why I think suicides shouldn’t be frowned upon, because suicidal people must actually be more content with their lives than the rest of us, agreeing with Death that they’ve accomplished everything they set out to accomplish and spending any more time here on earth showing up the rest of us would just be brash waste of time.

Time again. It’s almost time to board my plane, but more importantly, it’s time to think about what my life goals have changed to since graduating high school. It’s too difficult to come up with any real long term goals (I’m talking more than five years), but for the short term I’m keeping them the same as they’ve been since 2008: race my bike and race good enough to make a minimum wage living at it. It seems a simple, unimportant goal in the grand scheme of things. But looking around here in the airport one con see that just about no one has anything important to do. Everyone most likely thinks they’re important, especially while at the airport. Business people think they’re important because they’re getting paid to travel somewhere and do business things, families on vacation think they’re important because they can afford to travel by air and go spend time somewhere different (and therefor better) than where they currently reside, and all these athletic teams, cub scouts squads, spelling B students and whoever all these people are in matching sweat suits–they all think they’re important because they’re part of a big group. Kind of like why a country thinks it’s important.

From what I’ve gathered from my observations on society, a person’s importance resides in a very easily quantifiable derivative based on any one of these things: # of babies made, # of dollars made, # would-be babies made save for birth control, # watts produced on a bike, # of cheeseburgers eaten. Most people seem to have chosen the last option, which was my second choice to be honest.

Well, I have to cut it short before I come to any real conclusion about any of this. Time, life goals, the importance of an individual in a world so vast it can’t accurately count its inhabitance, let alone decide on how to distribute the goods amongst ourselves (it’s like we’re all cats living in a crazy cat lady’s home and for some reason she decides to feed some of us way too much and some of us not nearly enough–just for fun to see what happens–she IS crazy after all). Anyways, I just don’t have the time right now. Not even enough to spellcheck this sucker. Time to board.

Deceptive inclusion vs forceful disparage

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

Bear with my initial negativity here, I come to a good compromise at the end.

How I view the world (turn the volume up): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjDPWP5GKQA
How most normal people view the world: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwH4wPz-URM&feature=related

I’ve been having some difficulties dealing with people lately (lately as in the past decade or so). But lately it’s been getting worse. My pessimism is growing like a tumor in my brain, feeding on the emotionally healthy people around me and feasting on their happy-go-lucky thoughts while excreting the waste as evil cancerous cells into my head, which has become distraught by the fact that most peoples’ self-satisfied way of life will result in humanity’s and the earth’s destruction. I try to tell them what they’re doing wrong. I try to show them the world outside their cave, but it turns out that informing people of their ignorance leads to arguments, and arguing leads to dead ends. The more anger I aim at humanity’s atrocities, the less accurate my shot becomes as my arm shakes in anger and sends the arrow flying off into the bushes where it will be lost forever. Maybe I’m aiming at the wrong target altogether. Or maybe I need a bazooka, not a bow and arrow. Either way, I feel like I’m the lone rational person left on earth, which has become overrun with the idiots that populate the ingenious movie, Idiocracy.

Even people who say they care about the world don’t seem to care. I stopped by Occupy Boulder last week, which has relocated and grown in size due to an influx of homeless Occupy Denver protesters after the brutal police raid on their camp put things to an end a few weeks ago. I was eagerly conversing with a group of people about something I thought we all felt passionately about, but was let down when the girl I was talking to interrupted me to ask if I was 420 friendly. I said, “Yeah sure,” and she lit up and passed her pipe around to her friends, changed the subject, and I was left standing there realizing that the entire time all she’d been thinking about was an opportunity to light up and she didn’t actually give a damn about anything we were talking about. I left and continued my job hunt, and found a job. They’re still there, getting high and NOT talking about anything.

A lot of dull people like to say, “Well I just wish everyone would get along once and for all. I just wish people would be nicer to each other you know?” Well no shit Sherlock. Of course that would be a good thing. But there are limited resources on the earth and not all 7 billion people can live the way we do. It’s not compassion that humans lack. Compassion is not the problem in our world. Very few people want to make someone starve, very few want to see an innocent child blow their leg off on a land mine, and very few people want to cut down the rain forests (well, maybe less care about the forests). But my point is that most people aren’t evil, obviously. Most people are kind, and yet the world is an unkind place if you live in the two-thirds of it that make up the third world.

The problem with humans is a lack of knowledge, not a lack of kindness.

When you call someone ignorant, they’re likely to get upset. This is because they think that the word ignorant means stupid. This only further proves how ignorant people are, since ignorant doesn’t mean stupid, it means lacking knowledge. Everyone’s ignorant in one subject or another. (I for one, don’t know how to be less excellent at everything I say and do). But ignorance, when it comes to the small decisions one makes that affect others in large ways, is not an excuse that we can afford to give any longer.

We’ve been brought up with the notion that being a nice person is the ultimate way to make the world a better place. I disagree. Misinformed and misplaced compassion is a waste. What good does being a nice person do when you’re not informed enough to know what to support, what to hate, and what to stop from happening all together? The world is full of nice people. Nice, ignorant people that don’t think of the consequences of buying that Hummer that chugs a half gallon of gas every time they drive five minutes to Walmart for a pound of steak, which also required a half gallon of oil for its creation (this is not an exaggeration). Do people not see the repercussions of relying on foreign fossil fuels? The environmental devastation alone should be enough for them to decide upon walking or riding their bike instead of driving. But even that, PLUS the death toll in the Gulf isn’t reason enough for people to get off their fat, lazy asses and walk. 1.5 million people. That’s how many we’ve killed in Iraq for our cheap oil in the last decade. I assume it’s ignorance that allows this to continue happening, because, as “nice” people, we’d put a stop to it if we really thought about what was going on. At least I hope it’s ignorance that’s the problem.

Most people don’t stop to think about these things, and that’s what drives me nuts. But I know there are plenty of things I do wrong too. I eat meat, I rely on air travel, I require 60 times the resources a single Bangladeshi citizen consumes. But at least I’m aware that I’m a monster, though by admitting this I guess my problem IS compassion.

I’ve been told by a fair number of wise friends, with my best intentions in their minds, that I need to stop being so self-righteous, less confrontational, and more accepting, if not for my own health and well-being, then for the sake of the people and companies I represent as a cyclist on a sponsored team. So do I follow my ethics or do I keep quiet and race my bike? Can I have both?

Martin Luther King Vs. the Black Panthers: if I lived in the era and had to choose between the two I’d most likely have chosen the Black Panthers, a civil-rights group hell-bent on getting their rights met NOW by use of force and violence. I can’t imagine the rage a black person must have felt before the 60s (and the rage they still must feel because racism is, of course, still thriving). But King accomplished so much more than the Black Panthers did, by use of peaceful protests and enlightened speeches. I’ve decided to strive towards a less confrontational method of achieving change after thinking about how real change is made. Martin Luther King didn’t challenge people in a menacing way and he achieved the greatest results of any of the civil rights leaders. By keeping a calm, cool head under pressure and not scaring off potential supporters, he created real change (getting shot helped speed things along too).

Methods I’ve been thinking of to get my point across without being so harsh, for my writing as well as person-to-person interaction, include:

-Less confrontation so I don’t scare off my subject without them absorbing a word I say.
-Pandering to the lowest common denominator helps accomplish this too, by making people feel smart and knowledgeable. Maybe I’ll start making more mistakes and intentionally playing dumb so I don’t intimidate people so much (oh wait I’ve been doing that for years already).
-Not letting people realize how radical I really am, or even which side of an issue I’m on. This will allow them to accept more of what I say, especially if I initially agree with them on things that I otherwise would have shot down immediately.
-Preaching to the choir is a waste of time, so basically I assume this entire blog post is a waste of time. I need to lasso the in-between-ers.
-Newton’s third law, “For ever action there is an equal and opposite reaction,” only applies to the Chinese finger trap when attempting to escape the incorrect way. The harder you pull your fingers apart in a Chinese finger trap, the more difficult it is to escape. I need to adopt the correct escape method and learn to pull slowly and carefully (or just become so strong I can rip it apart with one yank). This applies to racing too.

The best real leaders throughout history have never used force. Tibetan monks lit themselves on fire, which was much more effective than lighting the enemy on fire. Gandhi led hunger strikes and peaceful protests, which was more effective than starting a war with the British since the British would have massacred India like we did the Middle East. Ansel Adams used photography to impassion people about the natural beauty they were destroying and John Muir accomplished more than any other environmentalist with pen and paper. Authors trick their readers into adopting their point of view by hiding the moral deep amongst action, drama, love, comedy and all that other garbage that goes into a book to keep people entertained. Unfortunately, as we learned in high school, the moral of the story has to be pretty obvious for most people to pick up on it.

So through deception and deceit, I plan on amassing an unwitting army of free thinkers and rational consumers who’ve decided on their own (sort of but not really) that changes need to be made and that Complacency Falls is not a good direction for the human race to continue to row towards.

Hired on New Year’s Day

But first some important facts about animals:

1) The difference between mules, donkeys, jack asses, and burros is enormous. The main thing to remember is that a mule is the largest, strongest, and smartest of them all, even bettering the horse. Being a mix between a donkey and a horse, the mule outpaces both its parents across the board in intelligence, stamina, and will power, giving insight into the real advantages of human mixed breeding. I for one hate getting sun burned. Mixed breeding would take care of that. Just imagine: a human crossed with an alligator. Yeah pretty sick. No sun-burning, plus an even bigger advantage would be that the person/alligator (a ‘humigator,’ if you will) would never have to buy alligator leather to have a nice pair of cowboy boots. Think of the savings.
2) We’ve discovered about 8.7 million species on earth, though it’s estimated that at least another 90% have yet to be discovered. Some estimates put the total number of current living species on earth at an astounding 100 million.
3) Right now (present day) fewer than 1% of the earth’s species throughout its entire history exist. And less than 1% of past species have a fossil record. That means there could have been around 1 billion species throughout history, possibly even more. With these kinds of odds, I find it very hard to believe that a half sea-lion/half mountain goat never existed. Imagine a 900-pound sea-lion, but with long, thin goat legs and hooves and big arching horns atop its streamlined head. Just think of how well adapted this “sea-goat” would have been to both land and sea. It would have had no equal, and likely been the top predator in both of its habitats. It’s horns would have fended off great white sharks while its menacing sea lion bellow would have warded off all but the meanest grizzly bears. Swift in the water for catching fish and at complete ease on the perilous sides of icy cliffs high in the Himalayas, the sea-goat could have been mother nature’s finest achievement. I doubt it went extinct, and instead further developed its sea-lion brain to rival even our own intelligence. It would have likely begun an agriculture-based society, fought wars, landed on the moon, fought more wars, invented the internet, fought more wars, polluted the planet, fought more wars, begun incorporating cyborg technology into it’s body for longevity and to fight off obesity from mackerel over-consumption, fought more wars, and eventually abandoned its physical body completely for light-speed, weightless thought waves better suited to travel throughout the galaxy in its quest for knowledge, for as the sea-goat knows, knowledge is the only ends to a mean.
4) I got a job working at Ras Kassa’s, an Ethiopian restaurant on 30th st.
5) It’s 64 degrees today in Boulder, wise guru coach Sam Johnson, so I’m sorry for not resting today but I gotta take adavantage of this weather and go crush a 5 hour ride.
6) Okay, now that it’s three days later I’ll get back to whatever this blog post was about. I probably won’t finish it for another two days though so I’ll have to go back again and change the beginning of this sentence a third time.

I found the new job pretty quickly. I went in for an interview at the Ethiopian restaurant in the morning, got hired, and began working that night. I’d bought a super fancy shiny collared shirt the day before in order to show up looking spiffy for our team meeting next weekend, and decided to wear the shirt with a pair of black slacks for the interview (my jeans were missing). My normal routine is to show up for an interview looking like crap, that way if I happen to get hired for some reason my employers don’t have any expectations of me and the only place to go, in their minds’, is up. I think this strategy, though honest, is the wrong direction to go, because the owner who hired me even COMPLIMENTED me on my fancy shirt. I was hired immediately.

The woman who owns the restaurant is extremely nice. She’s always telling me to eat as much food as I want so I’ll be healthy and strong. Of course this makes having a caloric deficit difficult, but I’ve held strong so far and limited myself to a mere 1-3 plates of food per night. It’s hard to not eat like 17,000 calories a shift, since the food in the kitchen is delicious, smells delicious, is super healthy, and the pre-made stuff sits in warmers, just asking you to serve yourself up a big plate of red lentils, yellow lentils, green lentils, potatoes and beats, sweat potatoes, collared greens, injera bread, and lamb. What I’ve begun doing is basically just riding until 4pm, showering, downing a quick recovery smoothie, and rushing off to get to work at 4:30 to eat my post-ride meal at the restaurant. It’s all great tasting stuff and I’m happy to finally be serving healthy food to people instead of cheesecake and popcorn.

The riding the past week or two has been fantastic up until today. It’s been sunny every day and we got a nice warm spell in there too. I was riding at 9,000 ft in short sleeves!! Today it all went to shit and I ended a five hour ride in a snowstorm riding a flat tire for the last two miles. The legs and lungs are feeling strong though, despite this being the end of four weeks of hard riding. Time for a rest week pretty soon.

And, last but not least, I’ve begun a new Performance Board. It’s not completed yet, but I’ll show you guys a picture of it. I need to start writing down good training quotes on it and sketch some pictures of Thomas and other power animals, but it’s coming along nicely. Rules will be explained later. Feel free to compete with me. I’ll be posting updates weekly up at in the “Page” bar at the top of the blog. Here it is:

Rules and stipulations to date: