Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ollie North

It is already Wednesday and I have not ridden since Saturday. Days are 
short and nights are long and motivation is hard to come by when it is cold and frozen in the morning, and the afternoons disappear into night..  I keep telling my self to charge my lights and never get to doing it,, so maybe 
by typing it here I may have to do just that? I have to say that seeing 
as I am not supposed to be riding single track and am limited to where I can ride in the daylight
I'm not to sure how riding in the dark will go. 
Something needs to happen or I am going to have to start letting all of my pants out and 
but all new Tshirts this guy is getting hefty. And I am not about 
to start riding rollers yet,,, I stress yet because a day may come when this happens. 

Yesterday it was requested that we (the boy and I) go street skating. 
Now there are not a lot of great spots around the home, but I was willing to give it a shot. 
Our goal was to get to the VFW where they have the elusive yellow parking block.
He so badly wants to start doing some rail slides, but every ledge and rail at the park are a bit 
above his skill set at this time. 
So we did as we used to in the 80's we hopped on our 7 ply maple and rode some
sidewalks till we got to the spot. 
We was working it getting on and off front and backside,, not really sliding but getting some 
stalls and feeling the motion. 
From here we spent the rest of the afternoon sunlight surfing through the fallen leaves and riding every fresh section of new pavement that we could find. 
Their was even an after dinner session at the park where the Rocket was getting 

               Ollie tips from the local Pro skater kids,, The kid needs to learn this Ollie thing.
It is safe to say that it is holding him back,, the concept is there just not clicking..
So two things need to happen before we head off to the 303 in two weeks,,,
he needs to get this Ollie thing down so he can have more fun on the skate tour....
And I need to get this shoulder healed or at least feeling better so I can too have fun.
Feels like we are on  a constant search for eternal  fun,,, and glimpse have been seen but I know that more is out there,,, so until it is found I am not going to give up
my pursuit..  

Monday, October 20, 2014

THC*

Yesterday I did something that I have not done in a long long time. 
I sat on the sidelines and watched other people race bikes.
As stated last week the Red Wing race is one of my favorites for many reasons. 
Being only a hour and a half from the house it is nice not to have to spend the whole day driving. 
And as drives go this was one easy on the eyes. We get to follow the River the whole way up and leaving the house as the sun was coming up made for some great viewing. 
We had to get up by nine for the start of the Boys race, which greeted the kids with cool temps and
blustery winds.
James has a great take to bike racing.. he is just there to ride and have some fun. 
He likes to start up in the front two rows but as soon as the word go is yelled,, he drifts to the back,, not in it for fame and glory. 
As I stood by and took some picture I shuttered as I heard some of the parents instructing their kids
on race tactics,, most of which would not be good in the elite race. 
Pip's race was not until 1ish so we had a lot of time to kill, so I found a greasy spoon to feed the kids and proceeded to run in to the Woods.
As we do in all of our travels  the boy and I sniffed out the local skate park.. 
The park had a nice lay out with some neat features and good flow,, no half pipe but lots of rails and other things to slide on.   Me the gimp had to take it easy with the pain that I caused in my shoulder the day before. 

As we got back to the venue the sun started to come out and I got a chance to walk around and see old faces ones that I have not seen since before my crash. 
Lots of stories were told and great feeling of belonging to something bigger made the 
darkheart grow half a size. 
The field was a lot bigger than I thought for the elite race,,  lots of places still up for grabs with this
being the last change to gain point for the season.
The race of the day was going to be on the front with Jeff Hall and Jesse and the rest chasing them.
And know how and what these two guys like to ride I knew they were going to be fast on this 
course. 
Ali and I walked the single track getting different venues to watch and cheer. 
By the end of the day I was more tired from watching than from racing.. Lots of walking and cheering for all of our teammates. 
The Women were next and again a strong field for this time of year.
Jenna was off the front with WORS transplant Robin close behind.
Then came the train that included Pip and the other girls.
Through out the day a few of the gals had some bike issues, and Pip kept her head down and ended up having a strong third place finish. 
For the men Jeff took the win with Jesse not too far behind,, turns out that Jesse's rear tire had been leaking causing him to loose some speed through out the day.
The Brick Layer Mason followed in third to round out the Podium.
Team Hollywood Cycles showed up and in big numbers,, the all went to the line and threw down.
Very proud of every single one of them.
You all raced your faces off this year and you all put the T in THC*
Plans are already being made for next year..

Friday, October 17, 2014

I can Smell It

We have down sized here at the homestead to one car.. The truth is I still own two cars
but only one lives at the house with us any more. As a whole Anna and I are bad parents because we don't want to do the two hour drive to get Pip back and forth to school, so when it was time in August for her to head back to Higher Learning we told her to take the Mini Van.
So this means a few different things 1: at some point in time we may need to get our hands on another automobile but until the demand shows its self we will go with out. 
2: she can come home when and if she want,, like this weekend so she can race the last Minnesota Mountain Bike race. 3: There are time when getting to boy to his after school activities get to be interesting .   
Nothing in this town is far away, so a bike can get you most places. Some routes are safer and better than others and trying to motivate a ten year old can be tough. 
But I was able to get him fired up to ride his bike to Karate a easy three mile hop that at his 
pace takes close to twenty minutes. Once you get him moving and things tend to work, it is just trying to get him to want to. And for me instead of watching class it gave me time to get out and ride in the
late fall sunshine. 
Temps were in the high 60's and the sun was shining even if the angle is low it is still sun and I am lacking Vitamin D. After some six weeks of  dust were removed from the LaMere and air into the 
tires we were moving and I was on a Mountain Bike for the first time in over a month.
Now the doc said that I can ride my Mountain bikes just not on single track,,,,,, again he explained the risk of injury from crashing or hitting a tree or just my grey matter moving around too much in my skull would not be good for my recovery. 
As hard as it is for me to adhere to his rules I did..  The overall sensation of riding on a Fat Tire bike
was Just Like Heaven. It just felt
Right.. Like my body was made to be in that position, And once James was at class and I was able to 
put some power to the pedals,, all the bike wanted to do was go.   I had a round an hour to play 
and I did just this.  Up the old quarry road just to test my legs but more my lungs. Riding this old road is splitting hairs,, it  is not on the Band List of places that I can ride but it flirts with edge of
where I should not be.  It was like kissing the love of your life again for the first time.. That 
feeling of wow this is great and I want more but I know that I need to take it slow and 
not ruin a great thing. 
So that was what I did just rode taking it easy looking and listing to the wind in the changing leaves, finding little nooks of funny rocks and trees that normally not seen because of pedaling too fast to notice.  It was Two Wheeled Therapy. 
Slow and Low Let Your Self Go.
I will get to ride something again on Saturday before heading up to Red Wing to watch the kids race
and cheer on the rest of the team. I am also going to get to see
 a bunch of people that I have not seen since I got hurt... So it should be a good weekend, all 
surrounded by Wheels,, Two, Four and all Round! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Green Wing

The work week started off as quite a soaker almost three inches of rain fell over the past few days.
While I am still trying to get used to the non commuting life cold October rain has me happy to not be pedaling to work. What i need to do is find something else to get me moving through out 
the week. I may just have to charge the light system that I have and start riding the 
state trails just so I can move my fat ass. 

Speaking of moving there will be a lot of that going on this weekend,
I will be watching and cheering but if you wanted to race something with knobies on them
this would be the weekend.  Not only is the last race of the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series but also a top notch Cross event up in the Burbs of the Cities. 

The mountain race is a rain date from earlier this summer. It was a tough start to the season with 
one race Mankato that probably should have been canceled followed up by the Red Wing race
which suffered a ton of rain and was canceled. 
Mid Oct is late for a Mountain race and it falls smack dab in the middle of Cross racing season, so it should be interesting to see who show up.  As racing goes this is one of my favorites for a number of reasons,, more than anything it kick ass due to the fact that it is the closest to what riding is down here in the Drifless Region. 
I was really looking forward to racing this one as we have not had a good race there in years,, last year we had to race a shortened rain lap and the year before that in the end of the second of four laps the skies opened up and made the course almost impassable.  So this was going to be the year to put it
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all together,, But instead I will be on the side lines cheering on all my THC* teammates.

The Cross Race up in Lake Elmo is by far one of the best of the fall calender.  Green Acres is a tubing hill which throws a good bit of elevation change into each lap. I showed up two years ago on a whim racing the old Cannondale and had a blast.. Flash Forward to  last year I was the one week owner of a Brand New All/City Nature Boy,, that I had maybe 50+ miles of riding back and forth to work and I showed up ready to race.
At this point in the season this would be my first Number Pin of the fall and all that I would line up with would have been doing it for at least a month plus.  The Saturday race was cool and windy with moist ground that allowed the corners to be carved like a turn in deep snow. 
I had a blast on the new bike jumping the fly over and suffering for 45 minutes of pure sweet hell.
Sunday saw the temps drop close to 20 degrees and rain lots of rain,,, the kind of rain that is almost snow.  You got soaked and cold just warming up,, and the ground was slow,, so slow that I had to 
change the gearing on the bike to account for the drag that the mud was going to cause. 
First lap as a nightmare of just trying to stay up right through the sloppy slippery slop.

I got to the front and went backasswards for the rest of the day but continued to have fun even if my face did not show it. 
This is another one that I am going to miss,,, but not only am I in no shape to race anything still 
not cleared to go elbow to elbow with anyone. And from the sounds it should be a big weekend 
for the CX crew as some heavy hitters from out of town will be showing up. 
But non of this happens until we get to the weekend and over this Hump,, the sun is to 
come out and maybe some wheels will turn.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Results

As of Saturday it has been four weeks since my crash that landed me broken
and ER bound. Friday I had my fourth CT scan in as many weeks,
to check the healing of my fractured skull and broken cheek bone. 
My doctor called mid afternoon on Friday to give me the results and tell me what 
he wants from me as the process of healing continues. 
The bones he said are healing, and thinks that in another four weeks or so they should
be all back together, No bleeding or abnormal spots on my brain,, which is great news,, and the swelling is going down.  This is all great, each day my cheek starts to hurt less and less and the pain felt in my sinus and upper teeth starts to go away,, soon I should be able to eat on the right side of my mouth. 
The next part I was ready for as my wife had tipped me off the night before, as she works in the same hallway as my doc.  He went on to say that until my head was solid again or until he gives the
ok that I am not to be riding my bike in the woods.  Riding on the road would be ok,, and even on the rails to trails/gravel,, just no Mountain Biking. When asked why he responded that the risk of injuring my while riding rough trail even if I don't crash is too high. So I said what about the skate boarding that I have been doing with the boy?? He did not have a problem with this as long as I kept it mellow and stayed out of the half pipe. 
Needles to say I am very happy for the progress of my healing and happy that no long term brain damage has been done,, I am bummed that I can't ride in the woods during one of the most beautiful   times of the year.

                                                                     
                       I am very happy to be alive and still be able to provide for my family, and yes I do                               get to ride a bike or bikes as long as I stay out of the woods.

But that is when the extent of my happy ends..
The anger that bubbles up from under all of this is still fueling my dreams and
thoughts.
The list is long and I could go on,,, and on..
I am mad about all that this has put my family though mainly my wife,, 
I get pissed with I look outside or on the interwebs and see all the fall riding pictures or teammates out racing raging and have a good time. 
I livid when I think of all the money that is being spent due to the crash,, the 250 dollar hotel room my wife had to get in  downtown Duluth as starters. 
The fact that the insurance company for the event said sorry have a nice day.
The fact that the persons or person who helped cause the wreck has not come 
forward to at least ask if I am ok.. 
And the Fact that I still four weeks later don't know what happened. 
Yes I could go on for awhile about what grinds my gears,,  but I have
to try to stay positive and hug my wife and kids and be happy that I am not drooling on 
my self or force to eat nothing but mush.  I have ridden and raced bikes for
a long time and plan on doing it for a lot longer,, and never want anyone else
to have to visit the dark places that I been.... 
Sorry not trying to be negative on a monday morning,, but better here than in the monday morning meeting at work,, those poor guys take the brunt of my WTF anger..
Stay Classy Internet,,, And du nice things for one another.. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A deeper shade of Rubber Sole

Recovery sure does take a while,, and it can come with a mix of emotions. 
My surface wounds have for the most part healed lots of new pink skin covering the places where blood once stained the fabrics of my clothes. The parts that are still healing 
are coming together or at least we'll find out tomorrow when they scan my head once again.
The headaches are few and far between but when they do come it increases my overwhelming feeling of being tired.  The slow processes is tough on a guy who never stops moving even while sleeping, but everyday is a step in the right direction. 

I had to send off my wheels from my wreck to have the good folks at Velocity USA take a look at them and see if they could be fixed or needed to be rebuilt.
I received two messages of "what the Fuck did you do" which was more rhetoric than anything, knowing that I have no memory and they have seen the pictures.
At Interbike this year they unveiled a new rim the Blunt SS,,
The keys here on the rim are they have gone wider not only  overall but also internally,, to allow the tire to open up even more... but also dropped the weight significantly  
over the Blunt SL of close to 70ish grams.
So when said and done a new flashy set of rims will be twisted into my King hubs and 
this here guy may be riding in the woods before all the leaves fall from the Trees.
With that all said again I have to give a big nod to the company's and the people there that have been standing with me and helping me forward before and after my wave of Mutilation.  
Velocity, Chris King, Thomson, and Of Spirit (WTB) are huge keys to my 
success and Recovery. 

So with all that happening yesterday, it was the spark that I needed to get out and ride a bike. 
Now the rules from the doctor are to stay out of the Human Powered Trails, due to the nature of the riding there,, and being burnt on road riding in the area at or around 5o'clock PM,,
I decided to stretch the concept and skirt the edges of my boundary's.  
I took the Nature Boy up the Bliss road and rode past the entrance to the trail system,, full sun on the ridge top was greeted by a nice strong north wind.
Now I never set foot where I was told by a medical doctor to go but what I did was dip into the quarry which in theory is an old gravel road..
I was so nice to get away from the cars and the noise of town and just listen to the wind
whip and watch the leaves in all their spender blow around.  It did a number on my bruised ego to 
just be,,    almost back to where I belong. 

Every step forward is another step in the right direction..
And I am going to lead with my Chocolate foot!

Monday, October 6, 2014

DogTown

Still not cleared to ride dirt by my local medical official till maybe friday,, when they 
take another picture of my skull, my lovely wife had the idea of getting the 
Hell out of Dodge.
Like stated last week I was going to go and watch people race bikes and drink beer up in the land of 
SSUSA 2013.. But the weather started to suck and get cold wet and windy, which is not bad racing weather but crappy standing around weather.  So 
other plans were formed and this band of merry pranksters jumped in the car and 
headed across the river to the 612.
The plan was simple take the boy up to the indoor park known as The ThirdLayer,
and let him get his skate on.. While his old man could roll around and tell story's of 
his glory daze. 
The park was packed mid day on a Saturday,,, Pack,, more kids on razor scooters that you could swing a dead cat at.  And if I am not supposed to be riding my MTB probably should not be on a Sk8 board?  And kids these days have no idea how to ride in a skate park...
When I was young we were taught the hard way by the older guys which back then were long haired guys in their twenty's.  If you stood on the lip too close to the coping they would either throw your board in the nearest puddle or just give you a verbal beat down. If you dropped in on their line or 
were not fast enough to get into the pipe,, again they let you know. 
Nope not now a days,, and since most of these kids have their parents sitting on the sidelines saying 
anything let alone giving them the evil eye would be unheard of.
So after an hour of total shit show,,, and I know that it is one when the boy says "dad this is a shit show can we leave" we went and toured the western burbs for places to skate.
We found our selves out in Plymouth my boyhood home and 
found a nice slap of fresh cement.
Some rails and stairs and big old wedge of a ramp that went slightly over vert,,
I had a blast laughing at the fact that some twenty five years ago the city came to my house and took all my ramps because it was unsafe and they may get sued.. 
Then it was off to SLP where we found again some more rails and some ramps and a 
young group of kids that we doing what kids should do,, getting rad and having a good 
time. 
We topped the day off with a nice dinner with the Bauers over pizza and bike racing stories,,
I use to race bikes...
The last time I saw Bavers I was sitting on his wheel on Hwy 77 right before the lights went 
out and my road to recovery started. 
Now back to the salt mines of broken down household appliance,,
While my bikes genitally weep of neglect in the garage.