"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



Before my most recent post, I last left you with a slight rant on Elston Avenue bike commuting. Thankfully, that post, written on Thursday July 1st, covered the last time I was to commute home down that harrowing stretch of Third World, Mad Max-inspired road, replete to the last with cabs darting into the bike lane and left-turning SUVs jerking back and forth in the intersection like a meth-addict trying to act normal as it strangles the cat.

For that night upon arriving in Independence Park, I gathered some things, and left for Edgewater to help Patty move her things down the street and spend my first night at our new apartment.

Patty's move was a quick and easy one, for she was only 2 blocks east on the same street. We had the help of several friends plus a late 90s Mazda, and we were eating pizza and drinking ice-cold Old Styles by 8:30.

I had purged all of my own furniture - every last bit of it, not even a folding chair remained - to the alley and to friends, so I had only boxes, and of course, the bikes. The next night, Friday, Patty and I took the Damen bus (it's northern turn-around is just a few blocks from us) to Irving, where we met some of my now-former neighbors for some heavy German food and refreshing summer Kolsch at Resi's Bierstube. The next two days were to be completely bike-free, and BBQ free, July 4th though it was.

But we got it all done, in hot-as-balls weather, sun beating down on us. We crammed it all in, and even though we'd gotten rid of half of what we owned, for the life of me I thought we'd never find a place for it all.

We did just in time for my parents to see it, less than a week later. I've come quite a long way since my mom used to arrive at my college apartment with a look of horror on her face and started scrubbing the place from floor to ceiling. We were even able to sit and drink coffee and watch the finish of Stage 8 on my laptop.

After an evening in which the waitress at my favorite local joint, The Edgewater Lounge, berated my stepfather for tipping 15% - and I then complained to the manager - we were off to Michigan for my cousin Paul's wedding.

A beautiful outdoor affair, amidst simple white trimming on the grass overlooking the bluff - I saw the sun set over Lake Michigan for the first time in my life.

We toured the S.S. Keewatin, a steam ship that ferried Canadian National Railroad passengers, in two and half days, from the western side of Superior to the eastern shore of Huron.

The following weekend my sister Maggie arrived from North Carolina to volunteer and have free evening access to the Pitchfork Music Festival. It worked out quite well for us. Me especially. I'd been worrying about a bit of contraband in my bag making it past the security checkpoint, but volunteers just walked right in through their own entrance. We were set. Security told us they needed wristband jockeys for the beer tents and people to watch the fences for jumpers.

I was told to assist at the vendor check-in, where four hipsters had made a break for it the night before, three successfully. Living dangerously, they scoped out their chances and took a running start from the sidewalk. Security had since set up a fence behind the table and forced a chokepoint, which I was to menace accordingly, with my arms folded, so everyone showed ID. The hardest part of the job was deciding what free food I wanted from the Chicago Diner booth, and listening to Real Estate.

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion absolutely killed it, as did Wolf Parade, Panda Bear was sadly out of place, and LCD Soundsystem had us dancing our asses off, working up a final sweat in the residual heat left over from the since-departed sun.

Hard to believe I was finally able to race competitively after all that time off the bike last week, and by competitively I mean not get dropped. I certainly didn't sniff so much as a top 20, but I did race three times in Milwaukee, Kenosha, and Whitefish Bay to finish up Superweek. The first and the last races were in support of my teammate Mike Seguin who pulled off a huge 2nd place overall in the series.

All of the races were brutally hot, and Friday really got the best of me. It was a 30 mile criterium, so I didn't have the benefit of Matthew Stevenson handing up bottles of ice-water to us. In fact, I'm so used to packing just one bottle for a 45 minute race, that it didn't dawn on me that I'd need three for a 75 minute effort in 95 degree heat.

Needless to say, that last sip of water with 15 laps to go tasted like hot chicken broth. I finished at least.

And here I sit. My self-imposed facebook exile continues. I was encouraged and disheartened at the same time to read this article today (thanks Leah). It confirms that Facebook is the new AOL of the 2010's...entirely self-contained internet. Except it's not for those who are too scared to go out on the world wide web, it's for those who are too lazy.

I will probably have to go back on at some point, at least to get pictures back, or for some professional networking. But right now, I feel like an addict who's been set free. I've been without a television for a year now, so I suppose this is the next logical step. At least I'm writing for myself again. I don't know if this was even interesting to you, but it feels good to unload the brain again.

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