"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


Nineteen Years Later

Nineteen Years

Nineteen years ago, your thick, oozing mess,
As black as the ink that told me it was
Spewed like vomit
From a drunk freshman’s mouth
Onto a Persian rug in some parent’s mansion

Nineteen years later still denying it was you
While we keep being reminded
By the moist, rotten, squishy stain left
Spilled in selfish greed and haste
As you ransacked a home that wasn’t yours

Nineteen years ago I stood there, naked
Embarrassed by the sudden light
And all their sympathy,
While you tried to make flaccid amends
And leave the room at the same time

Nineteen years later I still smell the air
Sweet, perfumed, like a cup of mint tea
I feel the rocks and the grit under my boots
And hear the birds and the waves
And know that I’m still at the edge of the world

Yet then I look down and see cancerous foam
Jiggling with a blind alien intent
And realize that you’re still here
Whispering in the corner, it’s not you
Nineteen years later.


Back for a limited time only

Free mustache rides, now until camp starts. Then you'll just have to settle for my wheel.

12 more days.

One last blow

The day is gone.
The clock's run out.
So one last chance
To scream and shout.

They've finally hope, so
Let's make 'em suffer.
To shield their faces.
To miserably shiver.

They sense the days
Are soon in coming
To run and play
in song and dancing.

I hate to see
Those happy faces
Our time is over
And there's better places.

So one more swing
Of jealous rain,
Of petulant rage
And snowy pain.

So they will remember
It's only the Sun.
An empty promise
Of eternal fun.


First Rule of Bike Club

...is DON'T DIE.

Please don't mistake me of making light of this fatality. It is a disaster and a tragic loss for Chicago cycling. According to Chicago Bike Racing, Matthew Manger-Lynch had been doing well in the famous Chicago alleycat stage race, Tour da Chicago, and had recently received his USA Cycling license in order to compete in sanctioned racing as well. My heart goes out to Matthew's wife and family, and his friends and mine that were at the scene this morning.

Mark and I rolled through that intersection on our way to meet some fellow team members on the lake front this morning, and as soon as I saw the flashing blue lights and diverting traffic, a familiar sight, I felt dread growing in my stomach.

Alley Cats are fun, a unique and cutthroat competition, a much better way to spend the morning than working at, or driving to shop at, Wal-Mart, and also dangerous as hell. Especially with a prevalent anti-car-culture ethos that leads to brash behavior and a level of posturing that can only be described as a death wish.

I competed in my only Alley Cat last summer, and even that evening I knew it would be my last. It was incredibly fun and the best time I'd had on a bicycle in a long time, but I was a bit tense the entire evening while being witness to some very dangerous and stupid red-light "negotiation". The afterparty the next evening after the day at the track was a ridiculously fun time - I tied for first place in the IRO Sprints. Cyclists are the best people in the world to party with. But tonight, I can only imagine the gloom and rock bottom spirits of the Tour da Chicago participants that no amount of PBR will be able to drown.

Bicycling is a celebration of life and human ingenuity. Yes, our firmly ensconced car-culture is an unmitigated disaster for our society today, but our job as cyclists - should you choose to accept it - is to promote our passion as the alternative, in actions as well as words. I consider motorists who harbor rage and indolence towards cyclists and our cure as children who must be shown the way through education, not browbeating and abuse. They are trapped in the Matrix of car-culture and simply know no other way of life than driving and entitlement to the roads. There is an abyss of misunderstanding.

At best, stop-light crashing cyclists promote the ire of infringed motorists and the reaction of the police against uninvolved commuters and training teams. At worst, one more voice of our gospel is silenced, the witnesses to the bloody scene are scarred for life, and everyone else - Steve Dahl, maybe? - just reading the news are left to shake their heads and say, "I told you so."


Took the 'Vette out for a spin today

It was pure heaven this morning.

Up before sunrise for coffee and NPR...met Mark at the Dunkin' Donuts and Jeff at Starbucks. The sun was bright and the air was crisp. We caught Kevin on Ravenswood, and just before Warren Park, JT rode up beside us. Nobody else was at the corner, but soon a large Wicker Park group rolled up, and we just hung out for a bit as everyone caught up after spending most of the last 4 weeks riding indoors. The ride commandments were recited by brother Kirby and off we went.

Easy pace, spinning fast, with one flat tire and a crash onto the shoulder aside, we rode smoothly up to Highland Park with no gaps. The fresh, cold air felt good in my lungs, expunging the accumulated dust and stale air, and the ropes of my legs flung about and loosened up. Rode easy into the coffee shop, having to piss terribly. We visited with the VW-Trek guys a bit, drank espresso and joked around before a group headed long.

I'm glad I'm on a rest week. I have not felt better since November, strong and lean. I've been getting lots of sleep and flexibility, I've lost over 15 pounds, and feeling my fit onto the bike forming nicely. I begin the build phase next week, increasing my workload by about 15% for two weeks before camp, and then it will almost double the week I am in California. Some guys had their rest week last week. It will be tough to have three weeks on and then go to camp. But, in the end it will still be extremely fun for all of, and we'll all get the sleep and relaxation we'll be begging for when we return. For Hillsboro is less than two weeks after.

Still, it was time to rev the pistons a bit. True, I should've kept it steady the whole time, but you need some mental work as well, and what the hell do we ride this many hours for if it can't be fun, right? So I took a long pull once onto Green Bay, and then sat in and let some newbies attack early, then riding a wheel up through the gap. But right before I jumped and cleared everybody else, Kyle let loose off the front and got off too big a lead for me to catch him in time. So elementary (and not very fast), but it felt soooooo good to actually feel the ground moving again under my wheels!

The mocha and canoli at the ICB have never tasted finer, and a breakfast of hearty rye French toast awaited me at home. A gourmet dinner and more wine than is necessary will be had with friends tonight, and then another two hours tomorrow with Jeff, and...viola! Another red "X" on the calendar.

13 more to go.


Haiku Friday!

To my French Press:

Your perfume wakes me
The scent of Earth Mother's wrist
Sensuous teasing

Gritty, oily crust
Primordial ooze, seep down
Infuse my morning

Black electric jolt
Runs through my veins, will push me
Right off of a cliff

To greet the sunshine
Morning breeze and chirping birds
Oh I want to fly


Ah, Roma!

Today's post is a flashback. Exactly one year ago today, I was on my first (and only, so far) trip to Rome. (Note, some of these pics are cut off, just click through to see the full image, if so.)

And off we go!

Roma, Bin 8, 1024
Bin # 8 to Rome.

Mat il trano
Almost there...

Our first view of Rome, outside Statzione Termini

The Hostel
"Hey! Shutta your-r-r-r kid up-pa, eh?! He-a playin' the saxomaphone all-a day-a long-a! Pasta fazzule!"

Hostel Piazza
Courtyard of our hostel. A private room with 2 bed, bath, bidet (well, a hose out of the wall but it got your ass just as clean), breakfast included, at only 12.5 Eu a night.

The Room
Nice, room, eh?

The Creation of Man - Jigsaw
"The Creation of Man" the jigsaw puzzle, framed on the wall of our room.

The Roman Subway
Roman subway.

The Collosseum, First Glance
"Dov'e posso comprare bigletti di calcio por AS Roma?" After leaving the hostel we set out to try and find tickets to the soccer match that night between AS Roma and Lyon. We found out that the game was almost sold out, and the cheapest available seats were 85eu, almost $120. We decided against it, and lucky for us, because the game later that evening ended in a scoreless tie. We decided to hit the sights, instead.We've all heard the phrase, "It took my breath away." But it's so cliché it doesn't really mean anything. This was sight that greeted us as we walked out the exit of the "Coloseo" subways station. I sucked in my breath with a tight "whoosh" and held it for a few seconds as it registered that I was really looking The Collosseum.

Constantines Arch, AD 313
The Arch of Constantine, outside of The Forum.

The Arch of Titus
The entrance to the Forum

The Temple of Saturn
The Temple of Saturn (huge!)

The Forum

Roman Hot Dog
A Roman hot dog, purchased at a snack cart just outside the forum (along with a 32 oz Peroni!)

Phil Peroni
Phil. Beer. Rome.

Monumento Vittorio Emmanuel II
Il Monumento Vittorio Emmanuel. Here's a video of Piazza di Bonaparte.

Outside the Pantheon
The Pantheon.

Mat Brian at the Pantheon

Roman Scooters
A typical Roman street, lined with scooters.

Wine in Rome
Il vino.

My Italian Namesake
Note the street name above the hospital sign.

Phil at the Bar
Watching the first half of the Nice v AS Roma match.

Brian at the Bar

Pizza later, second half
Our 2nd dinner of the night, 2nd half of the match.

The Elle MacPherson ad was placed directly across the street from a Communist Party office.

at the last bar
Around 2am, chatting with some German tourists.

Collosseum at Night

Buona notte!
Buono notte!

Free Espresso!

Vatican Museums line 2
The line for the Vatican Museum. I have 3 other pictures of this. It was nearly a mile long at 11am. We were slackers and had to skip it.

St. Peter's Square 16x
Piazza di San Pietro. Click here for the video.

St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Cathedral.

St. Peter's Square Brian
Mustache rides in St. Peter's Square.

Inside St. Peter's 3
The church was literally lined in gold. The collection plate ain't getting another dime from me.

Inside St. Peter's Brian

St. Peter's Altar

St. Peter's under the dome

The Line for the Dome
The line for the dome. Baby chicken is getting impatient.

Halfway up the Dome

Tight Fit
It was a tight squeeze getting up there...

Rome from St. Peter's Dome
A thousand words.

Phil and Rome
Phil, I'm lost in your eyes like a big pizza pie.

Baby Chicken inside the Collosseum
Back at the Colosseum, baby chicken can barely contain herself.

Collosseum and Senate at Dusk

Fontana di Trevi
La Fontana di Trevi. Make a wish!

Antipasta di Anchiovi
Antipasti di Anchiovi

Ravioli e il Vino della Casa
Primera, ravioli

Baby Chicken's had a bit too much

Il Pesce e l'aleo e potati
Secondi, fish with garlic and potatoes.

Where does the table cloth end?

Circus Maximus
Circus Maximus, site of the chariot races...you could almost hear the crowd's roar.

World Cup Graffiti
World Cup graffiti.

I loved the random temples around the city.

At the Andy Warhol bar...

Death of a President
Now playing.