This country is going to the preverbal "Hell in a Hand Basket." Or thats what you'd begin to believe if you only lived by the overwhelmingly negative media that surrounds us. Now dont get me wrong, the US has its problems, but lets get some perspective. Perspective on what your life could look like. And that's just what I got on a very poignant Thanksgiving.
I was lucky enough to spend the day chaffering my mother-in-law and her friend Kenya, to St Louis for the turkey day feast of my wife's family. Kenya was an absolute delight! A spunky 71 year young fireball. Born and raised in Cuba, where she defected at the age of 24, to come to the US with only the clothes on her back. Leaving her family, friends and a carrier as a school teacher to start over in a land where she knew no one or anything, including the language. Compelled by her story, I listened intently as she recounted her life as a young Cuban, and how they lived under the rule of Fidel Castro. She became fed up with the Communist dictator, and the messages she was forced to teach in her school, as well as they restrictions on religious worship and watered down Christianity the local Priest were forced to preach, and decided to leave. To hear her tell about life under the a Communist rule made my heart sink. The thought that at any moment the government could uproot you from your home only to be moved elsewhere, or to be limited by what groceries you could buy, by a stipend book that you carried every time went to the store, was inconceivable in my mind. She explained how the class system worked, and how she fit into it. Life was hard, very hard.
So how perfect was this? On a National holiday, where you're supposed to take time out to be thankful for all that you have, that I had in front of me (actually in the back seat), a living example of how preciously good we as Americans have it. We have the freedom to eat and get fat. To speak, and congregate as we please, all in a country where your only limitations are the ones you place on yourself.
So tomorrow I will ride with a different purpose. To enjoy not just the comrodery of my cycling friends, and the thrill of endorphins rushing through my blood, but in recognition of the good that comes from our Democracy. I will leave from MY house, and go for a ride in OUR park with reverence of how much different life could be. Be thankful of all that you have...as some are not as lucky.
What more can you ask for. Sunny Sunday afternoon in the upper 50's at the end of Nov. at Bider Lake Trails. Followed up with some brew from Prison Brew. Oh wait, the Brewery was closed. I always knew those Jeff City folks were a bit strange. Apperently they have some issues with drinking on Sunday. Oh well, el Himador sufficed. Thanks to all who showed! I believe a good time was had by all, even the sheep wearing one :)
Baggy cycling shorts. Now thats a concept engineered for one purpose and one only. You see, the "Baggy" as they're sometimes called has only one true enduring feature, to hide the FAT ass that would normally be visible when wearing lycra cycling shorts. I dont want to hear retort about how baggies have pockets, dont rip as easily, look cool, etc. BS!!! Spandex is superior in every way. So much so that most baggies come with normal lycra shorts as liners. Yep!
In my 20+ years as a cyclist, I've looked at the baggy from time to time, but never made the leap. Something about the friction they cause, or the possibility of a seat snag during a quick get off, always kept me from buying a pair. But times they are a changing. I look around the cycling scene, and I'm the one starting to look a little out of place. And when I'm out riding the CX bike on the gravel of far western Boone County, my orange Spandex kit looks more out of place than Paula Dean at a Nine Inch Nails concert. Some of the guys I ride with rock the baggy, and look good doing it. Fact there's even been a few baggy sightings at some of the local races I've attended. What gives???
So I gave in. Searched the web over for the perfect pair. Found it. Endura MT500. Had to have it! One problem. No US distributers had any...but one. Redfroggear came through with the last size medium in the lower 48, and now I'm rockin the baggy. Do I like em...yes and no. They are warm, good for this time of year. I rolled out of the house today, wearing tights underneath and my wife said I looked like Mickey Mouse. That's not an enduring look for a cyclist. Yes they work as advertised. Will I buy more, probably not. But as the winter season moves in, there's one thing these baggies will do...cover my China Buffet, turkey dinner, 2 donuts for breakfast, home brew drinking fat ASS!!!!
I hate working Saturday's. Let me repeat, I hate working Saturday's. In high school while the "cool" kids were at the pool, or sleeping in and waking just in time catch then end of some Road Runner cartoons, I was cleaning out the weeks scummy buildup at the bottom of the milk case at the local grocery store. Now that I'm an adult (no comments about my adulthood status please), the thought of having to work them again makes my stomach churn like the aireated water at the swage plant. BUT, if all Saturdays worked out like it did today, a Wednesday, I could change my mind. Let me explain:
See, I worked last Sat, thus I'm free to choose a day off the following week. I decided to trust the weatherman and go with his predictions of high 50's and sun, and take today as my "flex" day instead of the Friday norm. Jackpot! Bingo! Whatever! Today rocked.
I started with a three hour CX ride to Hartsburg, up and over Wren School road and to Coopers Landing for some root beer and crackers (I think that's what Armstrong puts in his waterbottle and back pocket). I doubled back up Wren School (my new fav climb) and to A$$land. I then got the call from Heavy D for an afternoon at Rock Bridge on the MTB's. All told, 5.5 hours of riding bliss.
My wife's only response, "I dont think I like riding that much." Yes I'm weird. A couple times a year I get that feeling where riding is more fun than watching fat midgets on a slip-in-slide, and its all I think about. Of course its not all roses, because there are days (weeks even) where the thought of sticking a saddle up my butt another mile makes me want to vomit, but luckily they are few and far between.
Anyway, is Heavy D, showing off some mad skills. This is his famous switchback turtle maneuver. And ripping some new cornering technique.
Now I tend to believe that when it comes to beer, I'm little beyond the average guy in knowledge and experience, (I mean heck, I even brew my own spirits for Gods sake) but I've got to admit this a new one on me. Had my mother only been drinking Blatz while "I" was drinking from the tap, maybe I'd have been that doctor or lawyer every mother dreams of.
While on the subject of beer, my latest batch has matured nicely. I was going for a lovely, drinkable nut brown with just a hit of cascade hops, a low Average Bitterness Unit, and medium body. I'm pretty close, however next time I'll add in some more crystal malt.
Just another ride through BOCOMO on a windy cool Sunday. I had visions in my head of something EPIC. You know, the stuff of legends. But it was not to be. At the 3 hour mark, the peanut gallery started to whisper of cold and tired legs, all from some run in costume the day before. No worries. It wont be long now, and the pain train will be pulling away from the station and the real winter training will begin. Will you be on board???
Seriously though, it was REALLY a nice relaxing ride. Just the type of thing I like to do in the Fall.
Yeah, I might get this Blog up and running again. Had to sign up for a new Google account so I scrapped the old one. It was crap anyway. I didnt like the format of the PBase site, so I'll just keep my pictures there, and my rantings here. This should be fun. Yeah right.
This is the home of my personal ramblings. There will be typos, misspelling, and grammatical fopas. I write about cycling, friends, past events, and fleeting thoughts. Its a vehicle for contemplation and reflection, a tool to help in the eb and flow of life. Hopefully you'll find it amusing enough to stop by once in a while. Enjoy!