Friday, December 8, 2017

Floral Vans

I lost my Floral Vans Authentic this fall. Not like got-blackout-drunk-and-lost-my-shoes lost them. They died. They were totally worn out and I decided they weren't worth moving from Wisconsin back to Colorado. I placed an undo amount of sentimental value on those shoes. See, Vans Authentic in black on black were my work shoes. My final two years living in Memphis I worked for a sign company. I was a customer service representative and had a desk/production job. I spent a decent amount of time out on the production flooring checking quality, lending a hand, shooting the shit, and generally not doing stuff I could do in "office shoes" but I had it in my head I wanted to look nice. I got a pair of Authentics in black on black and it took me kicking back with my feet on my desk one morning when everyone was talking about their weekends before anyone realized I had Vans on. The shoe may be black from the top but the sole is still gum when viewed from beneath. A few of my coworkers had trouble believing I had been wearing them for months. Where does this rambling story take us? I liked the shoes a lot. I wore them a lot. I had a pair of red ones in college but I really liked them now.

Fast forward to when I moved to Denver and there is a thing called the Colorado Mills Outlet Mall. It has a Vans outlet. This outlet sometimes did buy one get one free on SALE shoes in size 11.5 or larger. Ya know, to blow out the big uns. Well I wear 12s and would often swing in to see what they had in my sizes because to you may be walking out with two pairs of shoes for $32.50 including tax. Pretty sweet deal.

Enter the Floral Vans Authentic

Now this picture kinda spoils it, but those shoes saw a lot. I wore them to work at Wheat Ridge Cyclery a ton. I kinda felt they were my fun little slice. I hadn't grown my hair back out, I had to wear a shop shirt, and any pants that aren't dark denim or black is "suicide by work" for denim so I had to go with footwear. They didn't do great. They got dirty. I sprayed them with degreaser and pressure washed them in the bike wash room. I was deranged and hell bent on saving them. It worked, sorta. I will admit that the extreme pressure washing probably had something to do with the expedited death of the shoes, but also the grease and dirt may have become the shoes and by removing the grease and dirt I removed a little bit of the shoes, too.

I wore those shoes when I stood at the top of the podium in my first expert race. For those keeping tabs I won a single speed race long, long ago but this was my first race where the people who I lined up with were my age and agreed to be my ability and I was el numero uno crossing the line. It was a very emotional day, I was very happy. I actually nearly cried throwing away my Floral Authentic Vans. Not like a blubbery boo hoo kinda cry, but a little teary thinking about how much it had meant to me to stand in the Winter Park Ski Area parking lot changing clothes, sliding my feet into those shoes, and thinking "I really did it. It was just perfect."

The story goes: The guy who had been dominating these races was fast. He was big. He was built like a sprinter. We were climbing for like ever. We had been back and forth all day. He would surge and pass me, bobble later. I would overtake him and set a fast pace. Neither could shake the other. Finally we were heading up a fire-ish road climb. It was somewhere between a really old fire road and really shitty double track. He had 1x10 and was parked in the easiest gear. Groaning. I set on his wheel for probably two minutes and decided I had to go now. I didn't know how far to the road but I knew I had to go right now. So I attacked like all hell. We hit the road WAY too soon and I just know this big dude was gonna chase me down. I stay on it down the road and make sure to get over a roller so I am outta sight. I ride my face off, hit the last single track. I am railing, two miles of single track go. There have been racers finishing ahead of me all day, due to different classes and staggered start times. A recreational rider comes down the trail towards me. I slow, he slows and weaves towards me, bumbles on a rock, goes OTB and grabs onto my bars to save himself. I shake myself free from his grasp, say "Are you ok?" and as he says "Yeah" I say "Sorry dude I am trying to win a race here" as I clip in and rail away. I am officially freaking out thinking this will cause me to get caught. I didn't get caught. I won. I could barely believe it.

Maybe one day I will order a new pair of Authentics in a wild color. Maybe one day I will make a custom pair from Vans. That is a thing. Until then, I will keep wearing my black pair that is dying a very slow death and hope to make some good stories for those.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Three years later.

This is merely a test. Nearly three years have gone by since I hammered out my last post on here. I am not proclaiming a come back, but I am just going to start plugging away. This first entry back will be a rapid catch up of everything things that didn't make it to the internet between then and now. One of the reasons I stepped away from here is I felt like my life was pretty well documented through Mountain Bike Radio and it came down to time. Now I feel like I have a sort of curated existence in the internet. I am known to be abrasive, sometimes witty, and often times underdressed. I come across rather strong in the internet. While I like to think that in the real world I am rather agreeable, it is only when things are going in the direction of sense. When nonsense is involved I am not very happy.

Since the last entry here, I accomplished a long term goal of obtaining a Syllamo's Revenge rock. It took me a number of years and a ton of cussing to get this one done, but I finally did. I can't find the photo right now, but there is a picture of the bike I used. The geared only crave I had for a short while.

Moving forward in time, I quit my job at the sign shop, found a job at a bike shop in Colorado called Wheat Ridge Cyclery and worked there for a little over two years. Working at that shop had some really cool and really annoying aspects, but all in all it was a great experience.

I was given the chance to ride to the top of Mount Evans from my house, which was one amazing experience. It was a little over 100 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing round trip. Pretty big day.

A long time racer buddy Levi Lester moved to Colorado on accident and we went for a bikepacking trip when he got here. My first overnight trip on the bike.

Not long after that, he started working at WRC and we were coworkers. Tall Bros Unite. Myself, Levi, Andy, and Ali.

Jake D saved my ass repeatedly. He let me sleep in his basement when I interviewed for WRC. He let me stay in his basement when I was evicted. My roommates didn't have permission to have me subleasing. I was evicted in Denver with 3 days notice. Less than ideal, sub-optimal. I did learn that pancakes are amazing ride food, they are really good with fruit shredded in like apples, and they are cheap.

 I painted my dented up cx bike.

I started going fast on the XC bike.

 And when I moved to Wisconsin this summer to work with MBR full time as a real job, I didn't stop being a nice guy and helping a lost daughter/mom duo on the local tails.

That is a real quick breeze over of what things happened since we last talked last.