Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Open Letter to RadioShack Cycling Team and Andy Schleck

I was on a  road ride today and the bottom 4 centimeters of my arms were freezing. Which makes my hands cold. My jacket is too short, it is the longest one I have found but it isn't perfect. I realized I want Andy Schleck's old clothes. I know. You probably didn't expect that one. But here is the deal, Andy and I are just about spot-on the same exact size. According to his bio on the RadioShack page he is 68 kilos and 186 centimeters tall. I am 67 kilos and 188 centimeters tall. For those who don't know what that means
I am skinny and tall.                              
None of the bikes in the background are mine. They are my roommates.

The problem I have with being this skinny and tall, not only do I not have a very good lap for a dogs to cuddle in which leads to a dog holding the chair in his sleep, I can't find cycling clothes that fit. I am not overly picky, it is just that everything is very "American" sized. I am not the size of the average American. If I buy a size small it is usually still loose in the torso, but a little short and the arms are way too short. If I get a bigger size then everything is way too loose and the length is getting to OK.

So that is why I want his clothes. I am not some freak that wants to sniff Andy's used chamois. I am not going to do anything weird. I am going to wash the stuff, put it on, and go out and be warm on my bike rides. Or ride a long 80+ mile day in the summer and not have my under carriage rubbed raw because my small shorts are still a little too big. 

I am sure if I were to spend huge amounts of money I could buy clothes that fit. But the truth is I don't want to do that. I am 25 years old, just starting a real career and a savings account. The honest truth is my roommates offer me a great living situation which allows me to enjoy more racing and still start saving for my future. I can't justify dropping the $250-300 per pair of shorts that I would have to get to fit me. (I am assuming some uber-model from every company would fit as it has the real racer cut, not the Americano lard ass cut).

I am being 100% serious. I can only imagine that these clothes will be all but thrown away tomorrow. The Trek team will fire up and they will have all new clothes for everyone. Andy won't be caught dead wearing RadioShack stuff because he is literally PAID to wear Trek team stuff starting tomorrow. I am not asking for one of his bikes, or a wheelset, or a power meter. I am asking for something that will be boxed up and discarded. Or maybe it's donated and if so why not to me? The amazing gift to have a pro style fully tailored wardrobe that I could never afford? I would be head over heels giddy.

I will pay for shipping. I will donate some money to a charity for you. I will straight up buy the stuff if you say "I need some money to make it worth my time to box it up and ship it to you" but whatever, I want the stuff. 

I'm on the Cannondale, shorts wrinkling in hip.

When I race CX my mtn bike is my B bike.

If you look close my HR strap shows through my borrowed skin suit.

If you want to contact me it's real simple. matthewemcculley at gmail dot com.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I am (not) the beefcake.

It seems like all the important people had a blog about beef today. If you don't know what I am talking about first read this: Beefy-Dick and then read this: Beefy-Brick and then the rest of this still won't make any sense. Which the total lack of sense will be fabulous.

I tweeted a while back that I was going to make my next blog post completely about shirtless pictures of myself.  This won't be completely about shirt-less-ness but it will have enough shirtless selfies to make any homophobic man turn away in a combination of repressed jealousy and open disgust.

After a disappointing Spa-City 6hr

Before the disappointment

My best angle - not too much face

Taylor Phinney short shorts

Karen Jarchow would be proud

Me and the pup

I should model underwear. . or not

Well if you made it this far, good for you. If you didn't. . . I can understand.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Eating cereal in a skinsuit.

No matter whether the feeling is anger, disgust, self-loathing, pride, joy, a nearly orgasmic realization that one's goals are becoming achievable, and even often that fucked combination of some of the prior there is always a feeling that creeps in as most nagging: hunger. Napoleon said "An army marches on it's stomach" and that holds very true for cyclists. Some people fill that void in their stomach with chips and cookies, fast food and take out pizza, others make something at home, other people cook a meal that will fill the stomach and soul with the nutrition and love needed to face the world again. I think I fall into the latter of those three categories.

I have never been trained as a chef or even taken the most basic culinary class but I have always cooked. Over the last few years I have learned to cook more from my roommates. Also, having other people to cook for is actually good for me to cook more. I feel if there is someone who can eat what I make I will be much more likely to take the time and effort to make a worthwhile meal. Very few people are such jerks they will complain that dinner is bad. Of course on rare occasions a meal is so bad everyone has a laugh and everything goes in the trash, cupboards are emptied and dinner is a snack of what was found.

I don't think that I am the best cook in the world. I do, however, think I can make better food, more consistently, cheaper than could be found in a restaurant.  Sure, there are some places that make better stuff than me, but not that I can afford even on a semi-regular basis. Some places may be cheaper than me, but it definitely isn't better. As far as consistency, it can probably be agreed that eating out is usually pretty hit and miss.

Sometimes a simple peanut butter and nutella sandwich will hit the spot so perfectly it is hard to imagine any food tasting better. Other times you have just destroyed a long training ride and come home to a bowl of watermelon cut in the fridge that feels like heaven melon in your mouth. Maybe you just did a really cold ride and you have a cup of coffee with sugar and cream.

I know I am not alone in the comfort of food, but I think that Chili's, Olive Garden, and all those other places have gotten us distracted from what is good as food. And why we should enjoy it.

Fried Rice, Avocado, Pan Seared Tuna

Homemade bread. One of the best tips ever.

A hell of a lot of kale.

Eggs, Bacon, Sweet Potatoes.

1 taco per 1 hour ridden. Doctor's orders.

30 scrambled eggs? No problem.

Mexican night.

Pizza squares and ketchup.

Those pickles were grown and made 4 miles from my house.

Burger, steamed veggies, fries, rice. My favorite meal.

Pork Chops, green beans, garlic toast.

Breakfast. Syrup approved.

Sometimes it gets fancy.

Sometimes it's just bacon.

Or maybe a post ride/pre-dinner snack.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Why I don't blog as much: The slacker story.

So I used to fill everyone in over here on a semi-regular basis. You know, like someone who ate fiber sometimes, but not everyday so just semi-regular. Because we all know it takes fiber to keep you regular. Over the last few years a lot has changed for me. I have a new job, I feel like I am a much different bike rider, and overall I am in a different place. Here is where I could make the argument that I am too busy to write posts on a regular basis or I could just not post anymore. Am I taking this blog to the farm to live with Grandma? Here is where you could argue that has already occurred. I will try to catch things up so everyone can understand what is happening and where this thing may head.

This season of racing has generally been good yet unsatisfying in an odd way. I feel like for the effort I have put into riding over the last few months I am riding strong and feeling good. Overall though it has been a season of disappointments due to my unreasonably high expectations for myself. I will give you a rundown:

-Slobberknocker/Memphis Velo Omnium Weekend - I didn't race because I didn't feel like I was fast. I had this pride thing going where I felt like I needed to be in a better place before I went and raced. I was hoping to have a "dafuq did he come from" reaction after my first race of the season. I ended up heckling at the Velo race which must have been awkward to see from the racer side.

-Rouge Roubaix - I did great, I had a great race, I did way better than I expected and it really got me gassed up to go race and do well. Andrea of Brickhouse was hit by a car. It puts a black cloud around that race for me because it is impossible for me to feel super pumped looking back at the race when I have to think of being told my friend was hit by a car as soon as I crossed the line.

-Spa City 6 Hour - this was the weekend after Rouge. I decided to go race and get some long mountain bike time in. I drove over the night before and slept in a hammock under the stars at the venue. I was riding the rigid geared bike. First lap of the day I turned a smoking ass lap,was feeling strong. I had the Rouge Roubaix juices flowing through me. I knew I could keep turning these fast laps and probably do pretty well for my age group. I was feeling it. Then I flatted on lap 5. My co2 didn't work, my pump was in the pit, I had to take outside assistance. Rather than cheating I rode the road back, was given permission to continue racing after pitting but restarting lap 5. So it sucked a lot of ass. That was really discouraging. I knew I was doing ok. I knew it was going great. But damn-it-all-to-hell I had left my pump at the pit. Upon later inspection my co2 head is actually not compatible with Big Air 40g cartridges. There was a lip that hit the canister that prevented it from screwing on all the way, which kept it from piercing the canister enough to actually get air out. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

-Ouachita Challenge - I raced really hard, the course isn't really a single speed friendly course. I don't want to hear that crap of everyone is on single speed that is racing one another. People get shady. I know some people can spin faster than me, but to go with lead geared men after a few miles of gently rolling gravel. . . is a tough one to swallow. I personally went as hard as possible down the gravel and it ended up with me going into the woods behind a BUNCH of slow people. Granny gear at mile 6 slow. It wrecked me. Also, that race is really hard. To go full bore and get handled is a rough one. I was happy with how I did for the first time there and everything, but I wanted to be faster.

By this time everyone should be seeing a theme of "I did ok but still beat myself up afterwards".....

-Syllamo's Revenge - I don't think I even wrote a post for that race. Again, the feeling of intense pride of everything working well immediately coupled with the feeling of being a complete and total fucking failure. I had a perfect race. I smashed my course PR by a lot, on a hands down slower and much harder course based on trail conditions. I went up the first climb harder-dan-a-motherfucka and went into the woods in 10-12th place. Overall. I rode hard all day. I didn't flat, I didn't wreck, I didn't make a single wrong turn. I was fast enough to finish 12th overall on my single speed. It just happened that was only good enough for 5th in single speed. I had a year long battle of really wanting a rock (the trophies at this race are rocks engraved just like a tombstone would be. Much cooler than it sounds. It is a unique and tough trophy just like the race). And I didn't succeed. I cried a little, tiny bit at that one. Seriously, when I looked at the results and saw that I was 5th single speed I got teary eyed, said my goodbyes to everyone I knew there, and had to leave. I couldn't stick around. I had put so much into this race and just ended up not being fast enough. If I had signed up age group that day I would have been 2nd. That is a tough one. Hindsight is 20/20 and shit.

-Fast forward and I didn't really race again until the state champ race, it was a tough one. It has been an entire month since then and I shuttled a truck to Colorado again. This time I found some cool stuff along the way, made some plans that opened up a few really cool opportunities, and really got excited.

Since the state championship race I have gotten a bunch of great parts for my Specialized Carve which allows me to run it geared as XTR 1x10 with a Reba Suspension fork, Enve AM 29 Wheels, and a Stages Power Meter. It is a really cool bike. I haven't ridden it a ton but I will be soon.

Below I am going to just dump some photos of what have been going on over the last while.

Chunky Cat
Pain cave.
Blue skies and clouds in. . .ARKANSAS
Different strokes for different folks. Fun isn't universal.
I tried to win a state jersey
Shorts were chafing so I rolled em up
Shredded after a century ride.
I rode a bunch of bikes.

See, I was in CO
Enves added

Sunday, July 7, 2013

State Championship XC and First Cat 1 Double-Whammy

So about a week before the State Championship XC race I was pressured guilted harrassed about STILL being a Cat 2 on the mountain bike I applied for an upgrade. It was approved. So now I am big time, big balling, and in deep shit. Cat 1 racing is real fast and a good bit longer.

Matt Robbins, the eventual winner and current State Champ did a great write up. He is a great guy, a hard worker, and it has shown for him this year. I didn't enter the race thinking I was racing for second, but thinking about how it would feel to stop his winning streak from the road. I was unsuccessful and don't feel bad about it at all. He works more, harder, and deserved the win. He did a great write up here and I can add a few things:

I broke my chain about 15 minutes before the start. I had been having some bike trouble and I guess my chain was compromised. I was doing some standing starts to figure out what gear I wanted to start in and how many time I wanted to shift/when after starting. Call me crazy, but I came from BMX and know the first 10 pedal strokes can make or break a race.

Luckily, Matt Noe from the Peddler was there and the two of us had a new chain on my bike in 2 minnutes. A real 2 minutes, on the Garmin it was 2 minutes stopped. I made it to the line with a few minutes to spare and tried to calm down.

 When they said "Go" I dropped the hammer and went pretty hard. I was able to go into the woods first, which I could not have been more happy about. I love leading. Throughout the first lap I turned the screws up a little and got rolling really well. There is a rooted, gentle downhill right before the end of the first lap and I used that and the full suspension bike to roll off the front with a 4~second or so gap. Everyone was yelling and cheering and screaming my name because I had a gap. . . so naturally I attacked the connector trail and went into the Blue Trail with a bigger gap.  I decided to keep riding my 1st lap pace at this point. I knew I couldn't stay away at the attack pace for 2 laps but I wanted to make them work hard and not have my line to follow through the tightest portion of the race. I was hoping it would sap them to have to close back down to me. . . bad news, it didn't.

I had opened a can of worms I couldn't close. We rolled a little quicker and kept the pace up, eventually Richie Slagle went by. I knew I couldn't answer the question he was asking. I asked Matt if he wanted to chase and let him by when he wanted. At this point I knew I had 2 guys up the trail who could pop at any moment, hit a tree, taco a wheel, flat/burp a tire. I just laid down my own thing for the rest of the lap and all of lap 3. Within the last 1/4 mile of trail I saw a flash ahead that looked like Richie. Deep inside something clicked. It wasn't a question - I knew I was going to catch him. I laid into that gentle downhill and clacked over all the roots. I yelled to him something along the lines of "Richie we are still racing" and caught onto his wheel coming into a small bridge. The bridge opens up into a small clearing with about 100 feet to the line. Rolling over the bridge I was out of the saddle dumping gears, as soon as we popped off the bridge I went right, put it in the 11 tooth cog and sprinted as hard as I could. I sprinted and threw my bike and just barely got him at the line.

I am not happy with a second, but to lose to someone who works so hard isn't bad. Also, know I had to do my own thing and later in the race it could pay off (going their pace would have just blown me up) and it actually paying off felt great. By the speed and power numbers my sprint was great....25mph on flat grass at a good wattage number for me to sprint, especially after such an effort over the whole race.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rouge Roubaix

The story of Rouge-Roubaix hasn't came out yet because I wasn't sure how to approach it. It is hard to be happy because I am realizing my capabilities and feel proud of myself while at the same time be so frustrated and sad. No, this isn't the start of some terrible pop song. This is the story of Rouge-Roubaix and how it changed me as a cyclist.

The great thing about my new job is I don't work on the weekends. So I decided on the Tuesday before that I would go down to Rouge and kill/destroy/potentially end up crying. I knew I wanted to race the 3/4 race (4/5 was an option) and I knew I needed to go hard for 104 miles. I hadn't done any training rides over about 75 so far this year and knew that this was going to be a pretty gnarly day for me. I figured with my fitness, bike handling skills, and general frustration from my last road race would fuel me to around mile 90, then I could figure the rest out. I couldn't find anyone from MB/BPC that wanted to go down and race so Andrea decided she would come with me. She figured it would be a good day on the bike that would help prep her for the rest of the season.

We drove down on Saturday with the race being Sunday morning. We drove straight down, went to the course, and went to do a pre-ride. My nerves were getting to me and I generally freaked out during the preride. I was having a hard time riding the gravel, was getting beat up, and generally was not a happy camper. When we hit the second gravel section to preview the biggest hill of the race, which has a $100 KOM prize at the top for each race, I cried. We rode through 30 or so yards of 4'' deep sand, then we rode down this huge hill that had a 3/4'' layer of sand on the surface. It was time to flip a U and go back race direction. I couldn't ride the hill. In all of my life I had never encountered a hill I couldn't ride, but this was a huge bitch. The sand meant I was going slow, slow as hell actually. The layer of sand added in meant that as I stalled out and tried to turn to stay up, my front wheel would dig in and I would stop, falling over.

As a 25 year old, hot shot mountain biking, single speeding, fuck everyone I can do anything rider this destroyed me. I sat down in the middle of the road and cried. I had told myself I was going to do well at this race and that I would be fine with anything thrown at me and hear I was, feeling delusional about my ability. It was like this big hill in Louisiana kicked my face in. The next problem was trying to get going again. I hate my Speedplay pedals. I have trouble clipping in when leaving my cove for a road ride, let alone trying to do a flying remount on a steep hill covered in sand. I was destroyed, broken, and wanting to go home.

Once over the top of the hill, back through the sand from hell, back to the car I wanted to throw up, fly home in a helicopter, and never ride my bike again. We went to the race hotel and found out they had rooms open so I cancelled my room at the other hotel and we loaded into the room.  After wrestling with my inner demons and getting over the idea of getting raging drunk and not racing the next day I calmed down. Turns out whatever cable TV they had at the hotel played a marathon of some show that should have been called "Holy Shit-Balls These Are The Cutest Animals Ever" but it was really called "So Cute" or something. Anyways, after a 2.5 hour brainwash of a show that has personified kittens and puppies playing with each other as they grow from birth to around 4 months I was calmed down some. I fell asleep.

Race morning was awesome,  I didn't throw up on myself and I did my best "I should be here" by lining up in the second row behind Tim Moore of 901Racing and a guy who used to live in Memphis and moved away. The neutral rollout was very neutral. I started eating early and stayed calm. I knew that Tim Moore would be good. I was planning to follow him as long as I could. We hit the first gravel and it was like a bunch of roadies, hopped up on coffee and testosterone, just turned road bikes onto a gravel road. . . wait. They did. Bikes and people cussing everywhere.  Some guy did the worlds worst remount and swerved into me, so I yelled on your left as he swerved and made use of all 150 of my pounds in order to stay upright. There was a little break, but I knew the feedzone was after this long, long gravel section. I knew I could catch the stragglers of the front group so I stayed on it as hard as I could. Strong guys who had wrecked or gotten caught up kept coming through, but they also were jack-offs who couldn't corner on gravel. I wasn't strong enough to ride away from them but I kept feeling jammed up in any turn or anywhere that needed some turning, jiving, not hitting holes.

Some more people wrecked and I t-boned a guy, didn't go down, just full stop, unclip, start over.  I was pissed. I had driven all the way down here and I was going to get dropped in the first gravel. Nope. I caught on to the back of the lead group near the end of the gravel and popped out on the road with a bunch of people I thought were a ton faster than me.

We went pretty steady for a while, everything was cool. We hit the big hill at mile 68 and I was still with the lead group of 3/4 men. Things broke loose, some people rode all the way, some people ran, some people wrecked in front of me. I ended up being in the chase group for a good long while. I got dropped when I tried to pee while on the back. They didn't wait for me.

I made it 4.5hr mark and was feeling geat. Then the wheels started falling off. I was tired, I was dropped from the chase group that formed after the big hill, and I wanted to be done. I kept seeing people come through, I would hop on and try to go with them for a while. I ran into the issue of people in my 3/4 field working with the leaders of the Masters field that started after us and getting towed by. I kept working hard, and I finished strong. After I stopped I found a Coke, was standing around wondering when the women would finish/if I should go to the hotel and shower or if Andrea would be back in a second.

The director comes over to me "Are you Matt McCawwwlee" I said  "Yeah" he says I swear to God "Your friend Andrea was hit by a car, she is still talking though, she is at the hospital" So I pound my Coke, get all the info about hospital location, all kinds of contact info and accident info, turned my Garmin off without saving (it auto shut down because it had been stopped a long time, which would later malfunction and lose all of my data from my biggest race with powermeter), and haul ass to the hospital on my bike.

Turns out she was mostly ok, I had to ride back to the hotel, get cleaned up, I lost my shit when someone had taken my wheels out of the truck and their slow ass wasn't back yet. I mean fully lost it. I said something to the tune of "Some stupid asshole took my wheels out of the truck and I have to wait around to find them before I drive home. My friend was hit by a fucking car during the race so I really don't have time for this stupid shit. I need my wheel right fucking now I have to go" and boom, 3 minutes later my wheel turned up. I didn't fake nice. I just took it off his bike and left. The women's wheel truck wasn't back yet and I found a nice lady who took my number and called me when the wheel truck came in.

It was a long and rainy drive back to Memphis. We left Louisiana 5 hours later than anticipated (had to find all the wheels, discharge from the hospital, go to the police station). It was after midnight when we got home.

Looking back at the results I was 30th overall, 8th Cat 4. I am pleased with that result very well. It just sucks that my friend got hit by a car. I will go back next year, just not with Andrea.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ouachita: Race Day

Race morning I was a full on shit-show of nerves and lack of social skill. I am realizing that as I become more nervous I become much less social. After eating a few bites of oatmeal, nearly throwing up on Carter and Damian when they joined us for breakfast, and doing my morning business I changed, lined up, and decided that the race was all up to me.

Single speed, road rollout. I lined up at the front, hung on at my pace as long as I could, stole drafts from most of the race as it rolled by, and eventually it turned to gravel.  I had to tell Sir Geared there was no way I would let him pull me down the road by holding his hand. Fucker. I don't know what is worse: He thought I needed help or some sorry sacks of shit actually let people pull them during a race. I wasn't rude to him. I told him "I will do this by myself" and kept spinning. I digress for the moment.

There were some low water crossings people wanted to go real slowly through and I kept pushing my pace, the road started to roll, and suddenly there was a huge line of people 2 abreast up the road ahead of me in their granny gear. I kept doing what I was doing until we turned a corner and the road turned up. I dug in a little and went hard to pass as many people as possible before the single track started. I was out of the saddle doing my best "I'm not even breathing hard" face when I pass Sir Geared and said "I told you I would do it myself". I never saw Sir Geared again.

In the single track I yelled at people I knew to have a good time, yelled at one group of guys that wouldn't respond to my requests to pass. I get it, we are racing. But we are racing different categories and you are using your granny gear at mile 7 of 60. I am sitting behind you asking nicely to pass. I will cuss at you and run past in the bushes. With my dickhead move of the race out of the way I kept doing my thing.

At some point Andrea flatted so I passed her. She caught me a while later and we rolled near each other for a while. We hit the road and she used her fancy shifting parts to go more than 14mph and I did my best to not spin too fast on the road. I over ate going into the feedzone and then started to feel sick. I had went out a little harder than I needed to. I was running a pretty safe gear on the single speed but it was a little too much on the climbs. I tried to ride everything, I know I don't do well when I have to walk a lot so I just stayed on the bike and stayed cruising the best I could. I wasn't feeling that great. I was starting to have a bad time.

I got my stomach under control (which was great, I had never recovered from that before) and started plugging at the rest of the course. The guys from Arkansas Outside told me I was the man of the day because I was rigid and singlespeed. I told them I felt like the idiot of the day. I may have felt better but there is photographic proof that I looked at least twice as bad as usual.

I did my best to finish strong. Another single speeder had caught me about 6 miles from the finish. He had pipped me in the last few miles of Syllamo in 2012. We chatted about the day, how we both rode rigid single speeds, how the weather had been nice all day - no rain but not much sun, how his bike was pretty cool. I had been slowing him down and resting well. We were out of the single track and all gravel at this point. I knew we had a few more miles to go. . . so I attacked as hard as I could when we hit a roller. Full bore, high cadence, up and over the hill balls out sprint fest. I saw he wasn't giving up so I sat up a little to make a turn. The course marshall said "3/4 mile climb" and he said "I don't care about our placing" I said "I am going hard to the line" and proceeded to go full bonkers til I got to the finish. Including the last little climb to the finish where I went hard as I could and put myself about 1 knob in front of a geared rider.

All in all a great weekend, great learning experience. I didn't hit all of my hopeful goals but met some of my realistic ones. I am taking this year as a chance to gain racing experience and become more comfortable racing so I can hopefully do even better next time.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Popping my Ouachita Challenge cherry.

This isn't my first race of the year, but we will get to those in a little while. This is the most recent race because it just happened yesterday so I will give my best description of the race. I raced my brand new Specialized Carve SL single speed, set up nearly how it came out of the box. I promise, I will get to that too. So, here goes.

So, Friday after work I took my brand new, never been ridden bike out for a short spin. I rode it around for about 50 minutes and just got a feel for how it wheelies. I came home, drank a beer, decided I needed to wash clothes, and got going packing up for the race on Sunday. I got a little bit of my stuff ready but I knew we weren't leaving until 10:30 or so on Saturday so I took it easy Frdiay night. Saturday morning I got up, packed most of my stuff up, cleaned out Andrea's car so we could drive to Arkansas and shred some gnar.

We got to Arkansas after much driving in the car. If you haven't seen it head over to Brickhouse Racing and check out how much fun your next trip will be if I get to tag along. Once in Arkansas I immediately started shredding the pump track and getting a little too loose on the pump track. The pump track is great, except I can do two hard laps and be blowing through the turns feeling my front tire try to roll off the rim. The bmx days of 60psi in a front tire have taught me to expect a little bit more bite and consistency in my front end than a 20psi 29er tire will ever offer.

After goofing off a bit, setting up camp, and me acting like I wasn't nervous we changed to go for a "preride" of sorts. It wasn't really a preride because we didn't touch the race course but we did ride some similar trail so I would know what to expect in the morning. We ripped a little, took it pretty easy (as easy as you can on a single speed in the hills), and went back to camp. After some replenishing of supplies and picking up our packets (because that's what you do at packet pickup) it was time to eat dinner and call it a night. Sleeping in a tent that almost touches the ground, while being cold, and listening to dogs bark through ear plugs is a bad time. Take my word.

The rest will have to come later. Now is time forJust Riding Along

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Where have I been?

Lots have changed since the last time we talked.

Basic rundown:

I decided a long time ago (18-24) I needed a new job. I came to this realization when I decided I wanted to not work weekends, have nice things, and start a retirement fund. I started working towards that goal talking to people who I trusted and who I thought could help me. I started working every angle I could to keep myself in the bike industry. I had looked into jobs that were technical reps and demo drivers. It seemed like everyone I talked to had a hurry up and wait policy. People who worked for hiring agencies lying to me and telling me they worked for the company I was applying for....not cool. Lots of waiting. I started talking to people outside of the industry and was given some of the best advice ever from a guy who is about my age. He told me that people in our age group had fallen into the ill informed belief that we should love our job. He told me he did his job so he could do what he loved: hang out with his wife and ride his bike.

I started talking to other people, getting advice from professionals that I know to see what they would recommend. After talking to a few people and keeping them updated with what I had going on I started to get a few leads. . . not. I had a guy approach me and he asked me if I thought I could sit at a desk. I said maybe. He said let's try. I got a new job  working as a customer service rep at a grand format printing business here in Memphis. So far it has been great. I get to work Monday-Friday with minimal travel. I have only worked one Saturday this year.

Things have been going pretty great so far. I have swapped some bike stuff around, I have gotten some new parts, a new mountain bike, some new shoes, a new helmet. I digress. I am saying since we last talked I have gotten loads of great new stuff. Not all since my new job started.

I started my new job right before Thanksgiving and I can say without a doubt I am much happier doing that. Not that a bike shop is bad. I am not saying that at all. I am saying that this schedule, this type of stimulation, and the ability to get in my car Friday night and go race without asking anyone's permission to go race the weekend. It wasn't that it was THAT hard, it is just the fact that Wednesday I can decide to race on Saturday and not put anyone in a bind.

Now that I am settled in at my new job and getting things going, I am starting to get out and do some stuff and will have some good adventures to write about on a very regular basis.

Faithfully yours,