Sunday, September 23, 2007

blo-chunk lanes

This is yet another non-bike-related blog. Apparently, blown chunks are the secret ingredient to a fantastic game of bowling.

Work had me in Raleigh, NC the day after I got back from Chequamegon. After a day of shooting, myself and a few colleagues decided to unwind a bit at the hotel's hospitality suite. There were taco fixings and three free tappers. I made a taco or two and had a Shiner Bock.

One of us (to remain unnamed) thought it would be wise to go bowling-- always a good time. Everyone agreed, but when it was time to go only two of us were really down. Whatever-- the two of us went anyway.

About halfway through the second game, my belly began to grumble a bit. Knowing how this usually pans out, I suspected that the taco might make a second appearance. I warned my co-worker who, of course, was horrified. I got up for the eighth frame. My first ball took down about six pins. I headed over to the garbage can and puked up the tacos. I picked up the spare with the second ball.

I wonder if I should be alarmed by my ability to vomit without missing a beat.

We bowled a third game before I insisted that we leave.

That second game, I bowled my all-time best game-- a 166.

Bowling alleys are now officially fucking nasty.

Friday, September 21, 2007

the mushroom tattoo

So, I wasn't originally going to blog this, but at the prodding of some friends I have decided it is time to heal the wounds and share this beautiful learning experience with the world.

I'm not much of a dater. I have, quite literally, no game. Worse than my lack of game is my incessant need to be nice to people, even ones that suck pretty hardcore.

The day after a breakup I decide I need to hang out with some girlfriends. We head out to a bar mid-Sunday to watch a ball game. Before we had left this particular venue, Lori had brought over a guy-- she was trying to hook me up. Her intentions, I believe, were good (if not misguided). I was honest with the guy and told him I wasn't looking to "hook up". He was cool about it and we exchanged numbers to possibly hang out some other time.

In the weeks that followed, I talked to the guy a few times. It was just general, run-of-the-mill, gettin' to know ya stuff. He seemed normal enough to me, but what the fuck do I know? After about a month, I took him up on an offer to meet for a few drinks and another Cubs game-- he would be out with his friends, so there was no pressure. I said I could be there at 7:30.

When I got there at 7:30, dude was so fucking blitzed that he could barely keep his eyes open. According to Mary The Bartender, they had been drinking (shots and whatnot) since about 3:30-- which was about an hour after we had made plans. He was chain smoking, which took him off my waiting list immediately. I asked politely at first if he would mind keeping his smoke out of my face. He obliged, but it was less than a minute before the cigarette incense was scenting my hair once again. We went back and forth a few times-- me asking him to move his smoke, him begrudgingly moving it-- until I finally said (sweetly): "Look. It's not that big of a deal. Just keep something between my face and that cigarette, or I'll sit somewhere else."

To which he replied (brace yourself), "I've got something I can put between your face and the cigarette."

Now, those that know me will realize that this kind of challenge is a cardinal error. In addition to the pint of social lubricant that I was drinking, I had also just come off a 5-hour drive from Omaha, where I worked that morning. I was in no mood for games.

So I say: "Really? Whip it out, then."

But here's where I made the error: he fucking DID IT. That's right, he took his dick out right there in the middle of Jack's in Moline, IL. But wait-- it gets better.

I put my hand out to block my view of the offending member, saying "Put that fucking thing AWAY."

He stands up. "No, come on, it was your idea." At this point, he proceded to put his cock against my thigh. I jumped back and said, "Pull your fucking pants up!"

At this point Mary The Bartender saw what was happening and came over and shut him down.

When I took my friend Brooke about the incident, she asked: "Did you punch it?"

Seriously, I really don't know why or how I attract these people. I am on dating strike... effective until conditions improve.

Monday, September 17, 2007

i'm a superfan

Another highlight of the Chequamegon adventure:

Two of the racers at this year's event were none other than Greg Lemond and Gary Fisher. That's right-- these guys suited up and braved the cold for the 40 miles of fun.

Gary Fisher was at the awards ceremony. When I saw him I winked at him. I headed out to get a round before the ceremony started (Rage was NOT happy to be at the event; I needed to placate him with booze) and stopped by to say hi to the man himself. I shook his hand and told him I loved my Tassajara. He said, "Oh, cool, thanks." He finished off his beer, so I offered to buy him one. He said, "Alright, but you choose!"

I brought him back a beer and he asked my name. Later, when I was called up for my award, he yelled, "Alright Deb Wood!"

So, there it is. I now want to dry hump Gary Fisher, simply because he said my name. I am a total bike whore.


fat tires galore

This past weekend was the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival up in Cable, WI. For those who don't know, this is a fucking sweet MTB race on & around the Birkebeiner trail in Northern Wisconsin. Pronounced "Schwa-muh-gun", the options are the 40-mile course (the Cheq40, or "Freakshow") or a 16-mile route (the "Short & Fat"). I did the Short & Fat this year, because the Freakshow damn near killed me back in 2005.

Mike "Rage" Frasier braved the seven-hour drive with me. A group of us stayed at the Valhalla Townhouses. Rage and I shared a room with two tiny single beds-- try to sleep on a balance beam the night before a race you are totally unprepared for-- it rules. The townhouse was basically right at the finish line. Nice! Since my bed was directly under the stairs, I woke up to the fucking sound of an elephants-in-ice-skates parade. I stumbled upstairs grumbling horrible things and made a PB sandwich-- which I never touched. Some of my bunkmates had whipped up some batter and Rage set me up with a small pancake, which I was able to eat. I tried to make a second, larger pancake which I got about halfway down before the gag reflex started up... boo. I let the gag win and killed a bottle of orange juice instead.

The morning of the race, the temperature was 22* F. Now, it isn't odd for me to be lining up in cold weather (sometimes even subzero), but I have usually been training in cold weather when I do so. This was a total suckerpunch-- for the opener ride I did the day before, I was wearing shorts and a short-sleeve jersey. I had no idea what I wanted or needed to wear.

I was pretty much the only one in the house who was doing the Short & Fat, so I was on my own for race prep. I headed over and got to the start at 8:15. I got my bike set up and put it in line. I was only ten rows back from the preferred start, even though some people were there at 6 to stage their bikes. Either the S&F is way more laid back than the 40, or the cold scared people away. Whatever-- it worked out well for me. I had a great position.

I killed time and chatted with other racers. I was amazed at how chill I was. Other people were freaking out-- one woman was bawling. Hmmm- I've been there before. I saw Mad Dog McCoy and Bob from the DICE camp, and we hung out a little. The time was near, so I got out of my sweats and headed towards my bike, now buried at the front of 800 bikes. I left my Kenda jacket on until I got to my bike, then stashed it in my Camelbak Pixie. I raced in a windproof shell under my SS jersey with arm warmers and leg warmers. I had thermal booties over my shoes (with the Pearl Izumi logo blacked out, of course). Again, many comments on the rockin' Kenda gear. Folks love those fucking red flowers.

As I stood over my bike waiting for the start, I choked down a raspberry Hammer Gel. I nearly lost it, but kept it in check this time. Lucky for me, there was a random annoying teenager nearby babbling nervously to distract me. I should have fucking puked on him. Instead, I opted to point out an opening in front of us and offer it to him. Poor kid. I had water in my Pixie and a bottle of grape Cytomax on my bike. I was good to go.

The race ruled. It went much faster than expected. The Colesburg gravel RR did it's job; I didn't freak at all on the gravel. Actually, on one particular downhill, something beautiful happened. Not only was I able to stay off the brakes, but as I was bombing pell-mell, I shifted into my big ring and dropped the hammer. Yay!! It's official: I love downhillin'. I had a lot of little opportunities on different surfaces to test my new-found love of descent in this race: grass, prairie with babyheads, sand, gravel, dirt, etc, etc.

I ended up 2nd in my age group, and 36th female overall. I was psyched! I had never thought I would need to go to the awards ceremony at Chequamegon. I won a cool ceramic plaque and a nice SRAM X-9 rear derailleur. But-- oh, yeah-- I don't have SRAM on any of my bikes.... :)

Time: 01:18:45
Div Place: 2 out of 20
Gender Place: 36 out of 229
Overall Place: 283 out of 857

Monday, September 3, 2007

suckin' gravel dust

Today was the Colesburg 40, a ridiculous event that puts us on MTB's and sends us into one of the hilliest areas of Iowa (a "drift-free" zone) on the sketchiest of gravel roads. Now, my friends in CO and CA may snicker at my complaints of Iowa hills, but fuck you guys, you were not there.

Since this was only my third time EVER on gravel (and the other two times were on a CX bike that no longer exists), I bitched out and did the "beginner" route-- 24 miles instead of 40. From here on out I will refer to this as the "bitch" route. I have no fucking clue how they could call this course "beginner" or even "sport" class. The gravel had been graded two days ago (translation: loose, thick gravel) and us bitches started right in with the hardcores: the Eppens on a tandem, T. Gillihan, J. Kerkove, etc., etc. Actually, our course stayed with the hardcores until 18 miles in, where we turned left to do a mile-long climb on pavement while they turned right for more loose-rock torture. I say this as if I witnessed the hardcores making this turn; that is not the case. I fell off the back like dropping anchor the second we hit gravel at mile two.

This retarded course had climbs that would turn your butthole inside out followed by gum-flapping downhills-- all through quicksand made of ping-pong-ball-sized rocks. Now I may exaggerate a bit here, but there were two climbs in particular that had NO good lines and lasted for WAY TOO LONG. There were countless downhills where I could not lay off my brakes. Even Brian Eppen called the downhills "scary". I have no idea who thought of this race, but I need to go back and avenge myself. I do not recall any flat sections along the bitch route. The bitch route also followed the hardcores through a water crossing that was deep enough to wet my chain. Oh, and also my feet, after I had to stop because I was in too large of a gear.

I caught a couple of people along the way, including Todd from Iowa City (unattached) and a father and son from Free Flight. Sadly, because I am guilty of pride, I felt the need to outsprint the boy-- who was maybe twelve years old. His dad beat me, though. Whatever... he started it!

Time: 02:13:00 (one minute slower than it took the Eppens to finish the 40-mile course)

After cleaning up a bit, I came back to the cars to find Wm, Uncle Tom, and $5 Phil already at the vehicles. Phil had gone down pretty hard, and couldn't really talk, bend over, or sit. He had a lot of bloody gravel chunks on him. I gloved up and wiped down his wounds. Tom went and found his bike in the ditch (after an hour of searching) while Andy drove him to the Manchester hospital. Phil is always good-natured and ready to laugh, no matter how sucky the situation, but today he was stone-faced and obviously in serious pain. It was pretty scary. $5 Phil came away with four broken ribs.

After seeing Phil to the hospital, we were going to head to the Team Skin potluck in rounds. T. Gillihan's parents live in Manchester so it was nearby, and we were all famished. Those of us that went first weren't there for 30 minutes when we got the call that Phil was sprung from the asylum. He showed up at the potluck ten minutes later, still in pain but hungry. Such a trooper! Skin had an awesome spread, but we couldn't stay long.

Anyway, no puking this time! I think it is because I went into this with no expectations.

you keep it down, too--