Hello everybody! Welcome back. And speaking of coming back, I would like to thank you for doing so. You know, for coming back to read this blog. I am beyond shocked and I am so grateful that so many people enjoy reading the piddly words I write here. I am humbled and very appreciative. Thank you.
I need to get this outta the way, right up front. This is my home office. I have been at my current position in the bike industry for a year this last April, so I thought it necessary to let you know that I am still in super duper love with my job. I work for a great organization that has, what I believe, to be a great visionary at the helm. I just wanted to throw that out there real quick. Alright, cool.
OK, so…. I’m feeling all grateful today…looking at stuff differently. It’s been a rough couple of months but also a great couple of months. Some neat things are going on around me that I would love to share with you. So, I think this post is going to be a little different…It’ll be about bikes (natch’), but I thought I would also share some pictures and stories celebrating how great April was and how awesome May has been so far. Sound good? I think so, and it’s my…well, you know.
So these two months were filled with some seriously positive energy, if you look good enough for it. Sure, we had some hiccups here and there, but that’s life though. I mean, not to sound cliche’ and all but, shit happens. Right? OK, let’s start with a hiccup that turned out to be so, so good.
This is my beautiful wife, Maria. She’s on the right with the TASCO hat on that she snagged from me after Sea Otter…I literally just got home in this picture. She’s like: “babe, take a picture of my new hat!” Anyway, she has loathed her job for awhile now and in late April it came to a head. Not sure what to do, she reached out to her former boss and great friend, Larry to see if she could come back and work for him. He got super excited and said “YES! Of course.” She was super excited too about the new position and returning to work for her favorite boss. So, we talked about it and decided that she should quit her current job, it was a little bit of a gamble as the new position was verbally “a go”, but not guaranteed. As you may have guessed, Larry got shot down for the idea by his higher-ups. He wasn’t hiring anybody new apparently. She was upset, of course, but didn’t give up. She put her head down and kept her chin up (is that even physically possible? I don’t think so, but you know what I mean.) Anywho, she ended up being offered a position that suits everything she is good at: VP of Business Development! She is now working from home with her longtime, childhood best friend Tina and starting a new exciting chapter in her career! So proud of her! She’s happy, and that makes me happy. 🙂
More positive energy. If you have kids you know that your kids can sometimes be kind of a “payback” from how you were as a kid. My youngest boy, Bryce (19), who I thought, when he was younger, was going to be more like his mother than me. And my older boy, Nolan (21), would be more like me than his mother. Well, it’s turned out to be the opposite. When I was Bryce’s age, I bought a lot of old cars for cheap, I would drive them for a little while, sell them and get another. It was fun. I loved, and still have a strange fondness for the older cars…especially older European sedans (I currently drive a 1987 Volvo 240DL.) Wouldn’t you know…Bryce was driving a perfectly fine 2007 Honda Pilot. It was handed down to him by his mother. He drove it for about a year…constantly pining for and talking about buying an older car. Just like I used to. It was kinda making me crazy. I was like: “why would you sell your reliable, perfectly fine Honda, that gets you to work everyday?” I sounded like my mother talking to me. Then I figured, sometimes they need to learn on their own, fall and make mistakes. You can’t always hold their hand. As you probably figured out, he didn’t listen. He sold the Pilot. He did a little research, asked me a lot of questions, came up with a plan and bought a clean, mechanically sound 1981 Mercedes Benz 300SD Turbo Diesel. He’s also starting his own custom surfboard company called Blissful Bum Surfboards. He’s a good kid. He’s happy. And that makes me happy.
2017 Sea Otter Classic was absolutely great this year! I had such an amazingly positive and productive show. I was busy, focused, meeting new, wonderful, like minded individuals. It was awesome. The bike industry is full of the most amazing people. Everybody is so inclusive and accepting, all of us there to celebrate, in so many different ways, the simplest, most satisfying human invention..the bicycle. The passion for the bicycle is palpable. You can feel it overflowing even as you arrive to the venue and you are in the parking lot. It is nothing short of mind boggling. I have said it in earlier posts…there is so much crazy power in the like-mindedness…as well as an overwhelming personal feeling of being exactly where I belong when I am among bikes, and the people that love them. It’s hard to explain. It’s very unicorn-ish. But I had a fantastic show! It made me very happy. 🙂
I have been busy at work so I haven’t ridden as much as I would normally like. But I’ve hit the trail a few times and it was fun. I got a new carbon wheel set for my Surly ECR from some industry friends. I mounted the WTB Ranger 29×3.0 tires tht I have been using on them, tubeless, and they set up really well. I put the completed wheels on the beast, and let me tell you…they made a noticeable difference. They are a lot lighter than the Surly Rabbit Hole/Shimano XT hub wheel set I was running. They have DT Swiss hubs which have sealed cartridge bearings so they roll for days. I really do feel a tangible difference in the rotating weight of the bike. Seems to climb and accelerate better. I did lose some air volume though. The Surly Rabbit Holes were 50mm wide and the new rims are 38mm wide. There is a noticeable difference here as well…not necessarily a good difference either…the jury is still out on this. I will touch on it in later posts. The ECR looks good with them mounted…I like that, that makes me happy.
More awesomeness to come my way in the last month or so, some new sandals! If you know me, I have been donning a pair of Teva Hurricane XLT sandals for a little over a year. They were and have been great! But after seeing the Bedrocks on Instagram, they looked like something I would want instead. More of a minimalist type of sandal, less bulky, and fewer straps. The reviews said they were great to ride in. So I started wanted a pair. I have actually been waiting a little over a year to get a pair. They are the Bedrock Cairn Adventure Sandal. I’ve had them on my feet non-stop for about two months, ridden 4-5 times in them and these things are awesome! They really kind of disappear on your foot. I really like them. You can get them re-soled when the soles wear out…that’s cool too. And, as you can see in the picture, I just need to work on losing the “Teva tan”…I like these sandals…they make me happy.
My son Bryce is in love. It’s been fun to observe…I don’t know if it’s because he is my youngest or if it’s because it is new to him. It could be tht it is fun to observe and be around because it is drama free and really seems to be genuine. She’s a sweet girl, I really like her, and I like her for Bryce. It also doesn’t hurt that having Jenna in his life seems to have brought about some positive growing on his part. Having the right partner can do that for you. It did it for me. Anyway they went to her Senior prom a few weeks ago, that was fun. It will be the last of those types of things for me. Bittersweet I guess. But seeing him in love makes me happy.
I took part in a group ride a few weeks ago. It was the Fullerton Ride of Silence. It was a group ride where cyclists take to the streets to memorialize the cyclists that have gotten injured or died by getting hit by motorists. It is something that is important for the obvious reasons. Not a lot of cyclists showed. Perhaps it’s the “if it doesn’t directly affect my life I don’t care” mentality, that attitude seems to be running rampant these days. About 30 cyclists did show up though. It was enough to be noticeable on the 13 miles of roads we rode around on in the city. But the impact would’ve been bigger if there were more of us out that night. It was fun though. My sister and three of her club-mates showed up. There were bike riders of all types riding to honor the fallen. I wasn’t very silent, as I see there is no point for that kind of somberness. The families are grieving the loss of the loved ones, there is appropriately placed sadness for the fallen already. I honestly believe that the fallen cyclists would want us to continue celebrating the bicycle, having fun while being safe and courteous. “Riding in silence,” though a nice thought, is meaningless. We are adults and have the ability to know why we are riding. We can celebrate the fallen’s lives the way they would if they were on the ride with us. By riding our bikes, sharing in stories about riding our bikes, laughing and having fun the way they did when they rode their bikes. Anyway, we had fun while honoring the spirit of the ride. We had beer and Mexican food afterwards…that made me feel happy.
A few more highlights, OK?
I got to see my oldest son Nolan again. He came down for a visit. Mostly because he had turned 21 on March 31st and I didn’t see him for his birthday, and this was the soonest we could get him down here. Plus I just needed to see him. I love seeing him. He makes me smile, he’s doing so well. I am so proud of him. We had a great visit filled with a lot of quality time, a brewery and a couple of rides. Last time we rode when he was down, we did a bike packing trip. He rode my ECR and I rode my Trucker. I haven’t seen him ride his own bike in way too long. I tuned his bike up and got it all ready. I even put on an old used Manitou Black suspension fork on it. It was ready to rip. Seriously. And man, did Nolan rip! He got right at home and comfortable on his old rig. I forgot what a natural he was on his bike. He must’ve been taking it easy the last time we rode because he was on my bike. This time around he was riding very aggressive and cleaning everything he was tackling. And now that he is 40 pounds lighter and super fit…dropped me hard on more than one occasion. That was super fun, it’s how we like to spend our time together…riding. That and the movies, we love the movies which we did as well. While he was down, Nolan had the opportunity to see his old group of friends for a couple of nights, that was nice seeing Bryce, Nolan and all of their mutual friends hanging out together. Everybody looked genuinely excited to be together again. Bryce and Nolan had a lot of quality time together as well. I love seeing them together. They are 17 months apart, so close and totally inseparable. It’s really quite amazing when you consider how vastly different they are. All of this made me very happy.
May is coming to a close now and an event happened last weekend that almost blew the doors off of all of the awesomeness of the last two months. My 48 year old sister who has been working so hard on the bike and paying her weekly dues to the two wheeled, human powered union. She has been paying these dues in pure saddle time. Because that’s what it takes. It’s not about how many good miles to junk miles you ride. It’s not about the gear you use. It’s about work. Pure honest work. Work spent in terms of hours in the saddle. These hours were spent in pain, both on the bike during countless weekly club rides and three double centuries in one year, to pain off the bike after some brutal falls. The hours in the saddle have been spent in fear, anxiety, sweat, tears and broken bones for going on three brave years. All of this has paid off handsomely last weekend with a Category 4, California State Championship in the Individual Time Trial discipline. What an honor. What a bad ass. That’s my sister. I am very proud of her, this has made me very happy.
Well, I think that closes out a very personal blog post. I was moved into writing this while working this morning, and really looking at the bright side of things…and all of the good that surrounds me and my family.
Thanks again for reading it. I am truly humbled by all of the support and kind words.
Go outside and ride your bike. Look at all of the good in your life. Embrace the bicycle as a viable mode of transportation, a simple machine that self-propels you to that wind-in-your-hair feeling of freedom. You know what I’m talking about.
Go. Your bicycle is waiting on you.
See you next month. 🙂