Last Call

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“Hey this is Morgan. Leave a message and I’ll ring you back. Thanks.”
At the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, hang up or press one for more options. To leave a callback number press five.
*Beep*

Hi Morgan. It’s Kyle…Uhhhh…I, um…haha wow, already off to a bad start on this one! Shit I’m terrible at messages, or awesome depending on how you look at it. Um, I’ll just get on with it…I have some bad news, man. Pretty shitty news. Fuck. I hate to be telling you over the phone, on a message, but..uh..I guess I’ll just go for it. Well, earlier today when I was out on that hike with Sarah…I…blacked out when were were going down that super steep section with all that sharp scree. You know, where it…yeah you know–you’ve done that hike like a thousand times. Anyways, I blacked out and took a bit of a fall. I’m in the hospital now. I’m fine. I mean, from blacking out and falling. Just some little scrapes. I fucked up those blue pants though. But…actually I’m calling because. I’m here now, room 501. At the hospital. I mean room 301. Shit. But, yeah I’m not doing great actually. The reason I blacked out was. Uhhh…shit man. I hate to tell you over the damn phone…you know? The doctors say I have a…a pretty bad…um, a ruptured blood vessel in my brain. An aneurysm. It’s…not good. It’s, uhh, not in a good spot, but. I’m going in for surgery now, which is good because there’s a really high chance I’ll make a full recovery since I got in here so quick. But I go in for surgery, like in a few minutes. They said I could call some people real quick to…just in case. Fuck my head hurts. They want to operate like immediately. It’s not in a good spot, but it’s not a super massive rupture though. It’s not good though. Ha, I guess I’ve said that already. Well. Uhhh…they–there’s a good chance the surgery will go fine. They have to insert this coil thing, like up my femoral artery down in my leg, up through my A-orda, however you say it, then through my neck and up into my brain. They said it sounds worse than it is–at least it’s not like I have to have my skull cracked open or anything. It stops the bleeding. Of the broken blood vessel. I’ve got a massive headache right now. But they say the surgery should probably work out and they said I probably won’t have like any long term damage or anything………So, fuck man. I’ve gotta call mom and dad now. The nurses want me to turn the phone off pretty soon. So…I guess. Shit I don’t know how to tell them. But, damn I was hoping to get a hold of you. I just wanted to say goodbye, I mean…and that, uhhh…yeah I…well just in case, you know? Okay. I’m sure I’ll–it’ll be fine though. They said they wouldn’t operate if it was too messed up. It’s not like I’m in a coma or anything. Talk to you soon. Hope the trip is going well and say hey to everyone for me. Okay gotta go. Later.”

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

“Hi I’m Kyle. Leave a message and I might return it. But probably not.”
At the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, hang up or press one for more options. To leave a callback number press five.
*Beep*

“Yo Kyle, saw I just missed your call. We’re on our way back down from the mountain and the hot tub is calling our names. Holy shit the snow’s been amazing. You shoulda come out here, man. We got dumped on that first night with two feet of powder. I think we’re gonna stay for another couple days and head back on Thursday because another storm is coming in tonight and it’s gonna dump again. Oh, looks like you left a message. Probably about how lame you realize you are for not coming! Ya stupid idiot! Mid terms are no excuse. With your grades you’re gonna graduate in May no matter how shitty you do this semester, but the snow might be gone for good with this damn global warming. Oh well, more for us. Later nerd.”

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

“Hi I’m Kyle. Leave a message and I might return it. But probably not.”
At the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, hang up or press one for more options. To leave a callback number press five.
*Beep*

“Kyle, it’s Morgan. Shit dude…I just listened to your message. I’m on my way home. I’m coming back early to bring you your stuff at the hospital and–. The guys are dropping me off at the airport. I’m gonna fly back instead of drive with them. You’re probably in your surgery right now. Getting that thing shoved up your leg. Haha. I should be back soon. Okay, well. Cool I’ll see you soon then. I’m sure everything’s gonna be fine. We should, uhh, do a weekend trip once you’re better. We googled it and it doesn’t sound like the recovery is that long, so that’s good. You won’t miss out on too much of the season at least. Okay. Anyways…Later.”

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

“Hi I’m Kyle. Leave a message and I might return it. But probably not.”
At the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, hang up or press one for more options. To leave a callback number press five.
*Beep*

Hey Kyle, I’m at the airport, but…that storm I was talking about just started and it’s hitting pretty hard right now and all the flights are delayed for fucking ever. Nothing leaves until tomorrow morning they’re saying. At the earliest. It’s just going nuts here. Hey give me a call when you wake up. Mom and dad are a bit worried. I called them and told them what was going on since I guess you didn’t get a chance to call them. They’re on their way out there now too. Okay, later.”

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

“Hi I’m Kyle. Leave a message and I might return it. But probably not.”
At the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, hang up or press one for more options. To leave a callback number press five.
*Beep*

“Hey Kyle. Shit I guess you’re probably resting now. I’m just getting on the plane. Mom and Dad got delayed too from the storm. It got all the way out west to home and messed up the flights there too. They’re getting in a few hours after me I think. Okay, gotta go. I’ll be at the hospital at around two or three or so. Give us a call when you’re up.

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

*Ring*

“Hi I’m Kyle. Leave a message and I might return it. But probably not.”
At the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, hang up or press one for more options. To leave a callback number press five.
*Beep*

“Hey man, just got off the plane. I’ll be there in like an hour. I have a King Size bag of peanut M&Ms with your name on it. Bye.”

*Ring*

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“Hi you’ve reached Sharon, please leave your name and number and I’ll get back to you. Thank you and have a great day!”
At the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, hang up or press one for more options. To leave a callback number press five.
*Beep*

“……Mom…it’s Morgan. I guess you guys are still fly-..*cough*. Sorry. Clearing my throat. I guess you’re still on the plane. I…Kyle’s surgery……..I’ll see you guys when you get here.”

Exciting news

As you all are very well aware, Lance Armstrong is about to confess to Rosane that he never had cancer. I’m personally very excited to watch the two-part interview, which airs Thursday and Friday night at 4AM on Rosan’s public access channel, right after the flying model airplanes. Now I don’t care about retribution. I know I was right all along, despite being vehemently disagreed with and shunned by every beginning cancer patient I’ve talked with over the years. I stuck to my guns and watched as the faith fled those same cancer patients as they entered their third and fourth years of the disease. They too began to question Lance’s hazy cancer past. You see, once you’ve been in the game long enough, the rumors and accumulated personal knowledge begins to surmount even the most thick-skulled believer’s blindness. Besides, I once saw Lance up close and there’s NO WAY his package boasts that much girth with just one ball.

I left off with my gigantic four day weekend of smash-fest frigid rides. I took a short recovery of one or two days and started up again, finishing the next week off with two more six hour rides. And then I rested. I rested real guud. All week long I held back, waiting patiently to strike at Monday’s soft underbelly with the anger and bloodthirst of a starving wildebeest–a wildebeest that eats meat.

But before that, Friday came along (after Thursday and before words), and I went to a Reel Big Fish concert with Tricia and some of her friends. I didn’t know what the music was going to be like, but imagined something like Phish. So…like really lame, stoned fake hippy music. I was wrong. It turns out that Reel Big Fish attracts an entirely other kind of stoner (I even found a pipe on the ground, which I decided I should not bring in to work to show off).

Reel Big Fish is skaw, sort of a mix between a bunch of stuff that includes trombones. So I liked it. There was also a mosh pit. I spent the entire time in the mosh pit and the bruising on my back and shins proves it. Like any concert, I pretended to be way more into the music than I really was, and made sure to fake sing, scream and jump and shove more than anyone else. I will not be outdone by a bunch of damn high schoolers!

I opted out of a Saturday snowboarding trip because it was too cold up there (-33 with wind chill) and just laid around all day Saturday. I didn’t want to chance getting sick, especially since Adelaide and almost everyone I know is getting sick right now.

The virus hit me hard Saturday night. I spent all day Sunday doing nothing. My head throbbed so much I just laid on the ground in front of the window in the sun patch like Garfield. I rode my bike to the store that afternoon at 1:45, came home and made soup. Monday was very similar except I didn’t need to go to the store. It’s Tuesday now and I’m feeling a lot better, though I worked from home so I wouldn’t contaminate everyone else. So that’s all my exciting news. Oh, one more thing. Yesterday I had one of the greenest poops I’ve ever had. Phew. I knew I was forgetting something.

One day on, zero days off. Repeat.

Kennett SMASH silly flat roads! 24 hours of riding in four days just happened. For you math wizards, that equates to approximately one third of my time on the bike. Since it was a four day weekend with new years eve and all, I decided it was imperative to use the time off wisely–having a job makes finding time to ride slightly more difficult than having either no job or a semi-job, though it’s still fairly easy so long as you cut out everything else in your life.

Unfortunately, as the weekend approached, so too did the cold winter weather. Long gone are the 60 degree days of early December. All a sudden it dun got real cold! I went to Oregon the prior weekend for Christmas with my family, where I got a couple good rides in down at sea level, which reminded me how soft one could get living down low with the lazy flat landers. The thick atmosphere and the ease at which I pedaled took away much of the joy I get from hacking and coughing and wheezing during my rides at altitude. Plus, all that oxygen just can’t be healthy for you. Bad for the brain and the liver is what I’ve heard. I won’t go into all the details of my too short Christmas at home weekend, but I did firmly smash a five hour ride at 305 watts, I smashed my brother at Chess (barely), and I moderately smashed the fridge. In hindsight I wish I’d eaten more. (PS: Everything should always be described in terms of how heavily it was smashed). And in case any of you are wondering, I will be talking in watts today and if you don’t want to hear about it you can go to someone else’s blog who refuses to discuss power, which really means they’re weak and slow and aren’t able to do anything worth bragging about.

A Christmas Day snow storm bombarded Boulder during my flight home, and the lack of friction made dragging my Pika Pack the one mile from the bus stop to home easy, like a sled. The snowpack did not make for good riding conditions though, especially with the real cold weather still on the way.

Thursday evening and I was still scrambling to find a cheap flight to Tucson for the weekend after I finished work on Friday. My plan was to fly Friday night, ride four days, and fly back late on Tuesday so I could miss out on the 20-degree cold front moving in on Colorado. For some reason I couldn’t find a cheap flight the day before the new year weekend. Thoughts of a Greyhound expedition crossed my mind, and very quickly continued on down the line to the massive landfill that is Kennett’s Shit Ideas, the toxic chemicals of which are currently seeping into the groundwater, pumped back up as city drinking water, and corrode the minds of the townspeople that inhabit Kennett’s Shit Idea City, which was once known simply as Kennett’s Idea City.  The vicious cycle of toxic water and the dumbing down of the citizens has seen the slums and brothels grow as the museums, city parks, and playgrounds diminish.  It’s sad, but the townspeople have become so dimwitted that they don’t know the difference. Not having ever experienced the sense of sight, how could a blind man possibly miss the warm glow of a sunset over the Pacific? Well, he probably does somehow, but we’re not talking about blind people. We’re talking about the delinquents and idiots and trashy human beings of Kennett’s Shit Idea City. They’d rather get a dozen day-old Manager’s Special donuts for $1.89 than take in a heart-warming, sigh-inducing sunset–the closing paragraph of one of Earth’s rotating chapters–a moment for self reflection, the bitter sweat taste of nostalgia, and tomorrow’s bright promise of everything today failed to bring. Slightly stale donuts are pretty good too though. I’d have to side with the townspeople on this one.

My legs had been feeling pretty dang good on Thursday and Friday, easily pumping out tempo at endurance effort. This got me excited for the weekend. I said to myself, “You know, the cold won’t be too bad. I’ll just stick to the flat roads and stay out of the mountains. Work on my flat riding muscle groups a bit. A little chilly weather will harden me up too. Put some hair on my chest. Put some grit in my teeth. You know, sink my eyes back into my skull a little more. Deaden the tips of my fingers and toes with a lovely dark purple hue and help shave off some unnecessary weight. Give me hallucinations about bonfires and sunny beaches mid-ride as my vision fades, frozen cross-eyed  Come back to reality briefly and contemplate riding out onto that frozen lake and see if the ice will break just so I can get my hypothermic death on quicker.  Yes sir, this cold weather will make for a good, moral-boosting weekend.”

Saturday was one of the cold days. The average temperature during my ride was 21 degrees. But I have to admit, the cold didn’t get to me too much, for I was riding hard. I was on a mission that day: to break the five hour, 300 watt barrier at altitude. I’d done it at sea level and I knew my legs were good, and with an entirely flat ride on the menu, today was the day. Except, because I’d felt soooo good the previous two days, I had changed my goal of 300 watts at five hours to 320 watts at six hours. Always want more and never let yourself accomplish a goal. Always increase the bar, that’s my motto.

I re-assessed my goal after two and a half hours, now just hoping to do the six hours at 300. Since a large portion of my calories (and all of my liquid) was stored in my bottles, I had to stop a little earlier than planned because the bottles had frozen solid 30 minutes into the ride. I stopped off at a gas station for edibles and a LARGE cup of hot chocolate, the CAP LOCKS meaning I filled up one bottle with hot chocolate and drank another full large cup and a half while standing in the store. The hot chocolate didn’t taste sweet enough, so I added extra sugar to it. As I added sugar at the hot chocolate/coffee fixing station, I noticed there was a pump bottle of “Energy Elixir.” I gave it two or three pumps and my hot chocolate was good to go. Also, by hot chocolate I mean cappuccino. I used cappuccino and hot water to thaw my bottles and, still cold but quickly becoming jacked on sugar and caffeine, I consumed a big chocolate donut, bought two large king-size peanut butter Snickers and an apple pie, and stepped back out into the 18 degree weather and back into my pedals.

The next hour went well. I got warm again fairly fast and was able to pump out good power. Then, all of a sudden at hour 3.5 I noticed that I was cracking already. The cold weather and the hard effort were getting to me. My average power was down to 306 and falling fast. I slammed the apple pie. It gave me energy for 20 minutes. Then the real suffering began. I let out some yells and grunts as I plodded along through the rolling farmlands and past the oil and gas pumps of eastern Colorado. No cars, no people, just the occasional friendly oil tanker truck that always gave me plenty of room. The mountains were far off to the west, hazy from the cold foggy afternoon air. Snow covered the barren, silent land. In my ears Raged Against the Machine, out my mouth Raged Against My Legs in curses and increasingly animalistic grunts. I couldn’t maintain seated power for very long at this point, so I took prolonged stints out of the saddle. I growled some more. I forced most of one of the Snickers down, which tasted awful at the time. My stomach was upset for the next hour and I contemplated throwing up, but decided against it.

Coming into the fifth hour, I decided to salvage my original goal and hit 300 for five hours, and after that just ride the last sixty or eighty minutes home at a civilized pace. I barely managed this, throwing down pretty much everything I had in the last six minutes, bringing my average back up to 300 from 299. I was crushed physically, but content. I rode easy for five minutes and started back up at a decent pace until I got home, 75 minutes later at dark. I rewarded myself for the good effort by laying down in the shower for a long time.

Day two: Sunday. Sunday was easy. It was sunny and it wasn’t nearly as cold as Saturday. I think the average was a whopping 30 degrees. I burned through this ride with no problems at all, except that my ipod got caught in my rear wheel and broke. That made two broken ipods in the period of one week. I was not pleased. I got home at dark again, but this time didn’t need to lay in the shower. Day three would be a different story and I knew it.

Day three: Monday. Monday was a terrible, terrible day. Day three is always the worst. It was snowing when I left for the ride at 11:00 and was still snowing two hours later. The average temperature for Monday was 19.6 degrees. The ride consisted of a constant battle with myself to not turn around and go home. I kept making bargains: “Just ride another hour and that way when you turn around you’ll at least have done a three hour ride. Okay scratch that, just ride another thirty minutes. Never mind, but you can at least do another 15 minutes.” During all the arguing with myself, I was distracted enough that before I knew it I was at the three hour mark and feeling fine. I looped through Fort Collins and headed south to Boulder. During the ride back I felt as though I’d been lazy so I decided to hammer the last two hours home. I arrived after dark again. I was fairly shattered from the cold and the last couple hours of the ride so earned the reward of sitting down in the shower. Today was the only day I came back with ice on me.

Day four: Tuesday. I know by now, after my many years of cycling, that the fourth day on in a row is sometimes one of the best days for some strange reason unknown to both science and God. Of course I wouldn’t feel nearly as good as day one, but day four is typically pretty decent. Although I’d only gotten one hour of sleep the night before, there was a slight chance this ride could end up being troubled. I compensated with extra coffee: a total of nine cups (not mugs, but the measurement type of cup, which is equivalent to 2.2 liters for all my European readers–for some bizarre reason I had 180 views from Portugal the other day. Either the internet is broken again or my audience has widened vastly.

It was another warm day. The average temperature was 28 degrees. I rode south through Golden to the Red Rocks Amphitheater, where I ate a sandwich and gazed down upon the Amphitheater amongst all the tourists. A lady with a thick southern accent, out of breath because of the walk from the parking lot 100 feet away, spoke from behind me, “Oh, it’s just like a football stadium, ain’t it?” I closed my eyes and shook my head slightly in disgust. This is why people hate Americans. This is actually why Americans hate Americans. I finished my sandwich and continued riding south until my time was up and I had to head back to Boulder. I got home in the dark for the fourth day in a row. This time I took a full on bath in celebration of 22,500 kilojoules burned, 480 miles ridden and, despite it all being pretty flat, 20,000 feet climbed all in the past four days. The elevation gain isn’t anything to write home about, but in total time and miles on the bike, this is the most riding I’ve done in a four day period.  Possibly even in a five day period. Though I’m pretty tired, I feel like another two liters of coffee would have seen me through a fifth day just fine.

Wednesday back at work hit me hard, not just in the sense of being tired. It was back to real life. I thought this was a funny notion when it first dawned on me. “Back to real life.” As if the last two months of having a job has taught me anything about that. Like I’m some expert on juggling a real job and paying bills and doing real life grown up things. When I formulated that sentence in my head on Tuesday night, “back to real life,” had I really forgotten that for the past four years of being a complete bike racing bum, every single day had revolved around pretty much nothing else but training? I think so, because this four day weekend was extra awesome. Like twice as good as most weekends for some reason. Actually, exactly twice as good.

With some rest and a bit of luck I won’t get sick this week and all my hard work will finally pay off in April. Until then, I’ll continue to do my best not to overtrain.

18

The football stadium. I did not take this picture.

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I decided the only reason Lang Reynolds looks at all skinny is because of his big, gigantic, fat head. Look how skinny my snowboarding helmet and goggles make me look! And yes, I wore these every day this weekend.

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With the novelty of wearing ski goggles and helmet long gone, the ‘after’ photo of my first ride shows how much of a slobber fest it really was. Get it?