Tuesday, December 29, 2009

End of a Generation

On July 17th, 1921 Anna Marie Blanchard was born near Freeburg, Ohio. Many years later she married Ralph Gorman, my grandfather. Not long after my father and uncle were born, Grandpa Raplh passed away from illness. Years later she married Hansford Ayers, the man who I always knew as my Grandfather and he did a damn fine job as far as I am concerned. In 2005 Grandpa Ayers passed away after a long battle with Cancer and Strokes leaving Anna as the Matriarch of the family, the last of her generation.

Christmas Eve Grandma Anna's heart suffered a massive attack that knocked most of the wind that remained from her sails. About 24 hours later the heart that was as big as the great outdoors couldn't pump no more and the Angels came a calling and took her home.

I remember the times when I was in school I would ride my bicycle from Alliance to her home in Pattersonville, Carroll County. Stop by the golf course where she worked and mooch a lunch before continuing on to her home to mow her lawn and spend the night before riding home.

I remember going to Carrollton to go shopping and walking through the old stores with their hardwood floors. I remember her own dry goods store she had in Minerva and all the great family get togethers at their home in the Carroll County hills. Sunday mornings were spent in the front pew at the Mt. Zion Church with her while she waited her turn to fill the air with music from the organ or piano.

Going to a service or calling hours for anyone is no fun, going for a family member is even worse. This is the 2nd time I have carried a casket to the grave site but this time it was different, I was carrying my Grandma. Carrying a casket to the grave then watching it being lowered is an entirely different emotion. When the top is placed on the vault you can't help but feel an immense sadness. She now rests beside Grandpa Ayers back in Freeburg where it all started.

I have many many great memories of her and even though the Angels came and took her away, they left her memories here to give us a sense of comfort in that we were (are) loved by a very special woman.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The negotiations

Johan: Hello, Johan Bruyneel, Team Radio Shack

Michael: Hi, this is Michael Gorman, you were supposed to get back with me about my contract for 2010 with the new Radio Shack Team. I was supposed to help out on the spring classics.

Johan: Um, yeah, Sorry Michael, Um, I forgot.

Michael: I‘d just like to know where we stand before I break my contract with Orrville Cycling and Fitness.

Johan: Well, it doesn’t look very promising at the moment, we just signed Steegman’s for the spring classics and the Tour De France.

Michael: So, what are you trying to say?

Johan: Um, we have no money left to sign you on with the team.

Michael: Isn’t Lance racing for free again?

Johan: No, he is a paid rider on this team, that free ride was just with Astana to prove he was still at the top.

Michael: Maybe you are paying him too much?

Johan: NO, he is getting what he deserves, not a penny less.

Michael: Are you sure it’s a money issue and you‘re not blowing smoke up my…?

Johan: Too be honest? There are no money issues, there are too many issues with you.

Michael: Issues with me? Like what?

Johan: For starters? We’re not getting you a box of donuts before every race.

Michael: Darn, what a crock, bagels are tough and doughy, you waste too much energy trying to chew them.

Johan: And the we are not replacing the cokes with Mountain Dew. That’s all we need is a bunch of nuts racing elbow to elbow hopped up on caffeine!

Michael: Why not, caffeine isn’t on the banned substance list!!

Johan: For get it! And another thing, Luigi refuses to make fried chicken, pizza and beer battered fish for pre or post race meals.

Michael: WHAT? Those are staple foods! Are you guys a bunch of Panera Bread Panzies or what? I’ll bet Ekimov doesn’t eat that stuff.

Johan: We eat to perform on this team, not for pleasure.

Michael: How can you perform eating that stuff?

Johan: Now you know why you got you butt kicked at Nationals.

Michael: HEY, I’m allowed a bad day every now and then.

Johan: Look Pal, you had a bad year too! Besides, we don’t have any “Clydesdale” equipment, you need to lose weight. You’ll crush our wheel sets and bend out seat rails.

Michael: BULL, I’m just big boned!

Johan: Look Pork Chop, Andre the Giant was big boned, 195 is too big.

Michael: What about Magnus Backstead?

Johan: He’s good, you’re old. Besides, he has a cool name too.

Michael: Some Dude calls me the Gorminator? I have no clue why either, but it sounds cool.

Johan: Gorminator? Sound like something a flimflam man would sell for $19.95 and they’ll throw in a 2nd for free if you call now!!!

Michael: Don’t quit your day job pal, the crickets are chirping.

Hello? Hello? The punk hung up on me! Hmm, 9 o’clock, I still have time to swing past Liebermann’s Bakery for a cream stick before the club ride. I wonder if Bob Baker wants me to pick one up for him too? Ah man, my seat is bent again….

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Chapel Series

Every summer for the past 3 or more years the Chapel in Green has hosted a criterium series to raise money for charities and ministries. Only one member of the church races and the rest or volunteers. They do an awesome job and every summer I can’t wait to get back there.

This summer was no different and I had planned to do something different, race my single speed in at least one race which I did. The race went well and I felt competitive right up to the last 100 yards when I ran out of gear! Seems like the sprint was a little faster than I anticipated and had nothing to give finishing 8th.

There was one disappointing thing about the series in that the B field have a couple morons in it that couldn’t keep their mouths shut. I found that being foul mouthed on church property during a church sanctioned event to be very distasteful and disrespectful.

The very next week I addressed the B field and asked them to respect the church, the promoters and fellow racers. It didn’t work, the same guys were at it again. You would think that team mates would get a long a little better but word coming in from the other B riders was the same as the previous week. If you read this and know these morons, let them know they don’t do a very good job of representing their sponsors or their team.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mohican 100 - 2009

You know, I trained into the early spring for this race only to succumb to the pressures of life and slowly give up my season with the reasoning I needed time of the bike. I had no real reason to get off that thing except that I was slowly falling away from a sport I had done on and off for more than ½ my life. In early January I pre-entered the race with aspirations of a top 10 in the 100 mile event. By spring I was going to be lucky to get a top 10 in the 100k event.

One week before the race I decided maybe I shouldn’t even show up, just skip it and loose my entry. For some odd reason I decided to go down the night before and change my entry to the 100k on the single speed. It was going to suck because I hadn’t ridden more than 3 hours all spring and here I was entering a race that lasted 6 hours.

Photo by Aaron Holmes

I showed up with a stomach full of butterflies and enough doubt to make even Thomas look like the most optimistic and faithful. On the ride to the starting line I opened my mouth and inserted my foot pretty far down my throat to choke on it. I was riding with another rider and we were talking about proficiencies in racing and such when I mentioned that there were too many category 4 racers that need to move to category 3 and quit posing around the 4 field for 10 years or more. Seems like one of the guys had been a cat 4 for many many years and found my comment a little offensive - DOH!!

I milled around the start area for a little bit before the race and tried to get myself pumped up and catch up with all the latest BS from the guys I hadn’t seen all spring. It was time to line up and it was announced there would be a prime for the 1ft person to reach the city limits sign but the catch was, you had to finish the race to cash in on the $100 prize.

With a $100 prime on the line the start was extremely fast and with hundreds of riders vying for position and some for cash, things got hectic. Being on a single speed it was tough at 1st until the road turned upwards and the gear heads started downshifting and the single speeders moved through the pack passing those with poor climbing abilities.

By the time we hit the woods the trail was one long massive constipated snake going no where fast. People were in single file waiting for everyone in front to bust a move so I decided to ride around them and risk hitting a rock or stump hidden in the weeds. It worked out pretty well as I was moving forward by leaps and bounds. By the time we entered the state park section of the trail I was in the company of some fairly competent and fast riders going at a satisfactory pace. Following them would keep me from burning myself up before the end. When we reached what the locals call Mt. Doom the riders in front slowly started to drop like flies. By the time we reached the top there were only two left, Betsy Shogren and someone from team Lake Effect. The Lake Effect guy pulled off and I passed Betsy while passing through check point one.

More miles of sweeping fast single track and one hell of a hike a bike. Under normal hiking conditions this hill was more or less tamable by even the most out of shape hiker. Add a 25+ pound bicycle to the ascension and you go no where fast. The guy in front of you is only 10 yards away but by the time you reach the top he already has a 1/8 mile of single track between the two of you.

The trails finally give way to a short pavement section and some gravel roads that link you to the next section of single track. I caught up to Wes Jones of Soup Can Racing and was riding with him for a while. He seemed a little pissed for some reason and I wasn’t sure why. Found out later he was mad because I didn’t acknowledge him when I passed him on the trail earlier. I never saw their new team kits before so I figured it was just another schmuck in the race. On one of the hills the pace was getting low enough I had to start cranking or succumb to someone else’s cadence and suffer. Wes once again got upset because he thought I was attacking him and trying to drop him. I just didn’t want to pedal that slow and not having another gear to select, I had to go faster.

I entered the next section of single track with a couple riders hot on my tail. I kept them at bay for a while but I was riding at a pace I didn’t want to burn up at so I backed off and let them pass. It was Betsy! We rolled into check point 3 where the 100k and 100 mile separate, I grabbed a PBJ and Mt Dew and kept on rolling. Betsy took the 100 mile route and I took the sissy 100k. She went on to win the women’s 100 miler. When I left the split I never saw another bike until I reached the state park again. I entered the woods and came to a section bannered off. I knew Lorsen was ahead of me and couldn’t figure out where he went. I spent the better part of 10 minutes looking for the right trail and decided to go back to the entrance where people were yelling the signing was wrong and pointed the right way.

It was almost too late as the 3rd single speed, Wes Jones, was coming at me at full throttle. We hit the woods and started what would be a 6 mile battle at efforts well above what one would expect at a shorter race. My legs were cramping bad and the pain was getting annoying as was the fact I could barely bend them any more and I had to peg leg one climb that was too steep to pedal. On the downhill grades I would see Wes gaining on me only to drop him again on the next climb. After many burned turns and near misses with trees, rocks and logs the trail dropped out onto a gravel road. All I could do was spin as fast as possible knowing Wes’ bike was geared taller than mine. I spent what would be the last ½ mile spinning with one leg as my left quad was seized tighter than a rusty bolt on Chevette.

After I crossed the finish line I rolled up to Trek Rep. Bob Myers and dropped my bike. I couldn’t lift my leg to get off so I had to lay it down and walk away. In the end I was surprised to find out I did indeed finish 2nd and 11th overall. I won $100 which gave me a net profit of $1 after deducting the $99 entry.

I was surprised that I was able to do that well in a race that I hadn’t even trained for. Maybe next year I will get my head out of my ass and make the big show and try to beat Betsy. It’s a long shot but who knows, maybe I can beat her, if she gets a flat or two, or three…

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Chasing Ghosts - Part 1

Tim and I headed to Mohican after work Tuesday for a spin on the mountain bike course. I had a feeling he was too tired from his big ride the past weekend at TOSRV but telling Tim he’s tired is like telling a child it’s bed time, he just wasn’t hearing it!

Luckily I was able to talk him into riding a geared bike while I rode the single speed. I figured with his lack of good rest, it’d be a decent match up. By the 12 mile mark Tim was getting further and further off the back so when we got to the covered bridge I took a picture and when he got there pretty much demanded he take it easy for a while and ride the road for the next section, get a lead on me and I’d catch up.

He reluctantly went up the road as I headed up Mt. Doom, the chase was on, or so I thought. I reached the parking area at the top of the hill and Tim had moved on so I started chasing at above race pace in hopes of getting a break when I caught up. I chased and chased and was riding over my head but when the next road crossing came and still no Tim I started thinking “He’s flying to try and stay ahead”.

I started the last 4 miles hammering away going too fast when I shouldn’t have and almost paying for it a couple times. I hit a rock garden at almost twice the speed I normally would and the impacts shook me and the bike so hard all the accumulated sweat in my skid lid got squeegeed out all over me and in my eyes making the rest of the rock garden a blinding out of control blur. There was so much sweat I thought it had started to downpour. I also got a little too close to a tree and it reached out and grabbed me by the shirt sleeve for running over its roots cutting a nice 3” slice through the jersey and the base layer and thankfully not me. It had a good enough grip to almost rip my hand off the bars.

Still no Tim. I kept looking over the hillsides down the switchbacks looking for signs of movement and the sounds of a chain slapping the frame but there was nothing but birds and deer. Just as I made the final 100 meters of trail I saw Tim crossing the bridge into the campground, perfect timing! Or so I thought.

“So much for riding slow so I could catch up eh”? All he did was laugh, and then he let the cat out of the bag. He had gone up the road but at the top there is a short trail that cuts from the road over to the parking lot. Tim took that trail and thought he could come back down the road a hundred meters or so and do the trail again before I got there. When he came back through the lot a 2nd time a couple guys asked him if he was looking for a guy in red on a single speed and if he was, he just went flying by! So here I am chasing Tim and he’s behind me!! He had done the fire tower to the next road then skipped the next section due to the fact he knew I was at full throttle and he finally had to admit he was flat out tired. He rode back on the pavement and the and headed back up the trail backwards and when he heard me crashing though the woods, turned around to make it look like he had just beat me back!!

When we crossed under Rt. 3 I headed off into the Wolholding River to splash some water on me. I told him to go grab the camera and I’d video him cross the creek. He said “NO, we’re going home!” So much for getting Tim to take another bath!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Splish splash Tim takes a bath!!

Yesterdays duathlon left me semi paralyzed from my insulated 4 pack down so Tim and I went on a recovery ride this evening to spin the legs out and maybe get some blood flowing.

The ride was uneventful until we came back into town. The bridge on the Sippo Trail was burnt down by local dysfunctional juvenile derelicts so we went over the side and crossed the wooden ties laid acros the water at the bottom. I rode across and watched Tim make an effort but before he started I predicted an 80% chance of wet. He chickened out and walked.

We ended up riding down the creek on the gravely bars and beds crossing back and forth to the highest ground making our way back to town. Each time we’d cross the water got deeper and the last crossing was the deepest. I made my way across getting both feet wet and was just getting off the bike to wait on Tim when I heard two very distinct sounds but separate sounds that were merged together. It sounded something like OHFUUUSPLASH. I couldn’t get turned around in time and when I did all I saw was a head, an arm and part of a leg clipped into a pair of spd pedals, the rest was water and a few bike parts!! Luckily for Tim, I could stop laughing long enough to get the camera phone out!! The last mile home was wet as predicted.

Suposedly in France Bonifant means good water. So Mr Bonifant, how was the water?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hinkley Buzzard Duathlon and Biathlon

In the words of Josh McClay “Holy Hanna”!! I was afraid I might be getting in over my head and this week hasn’t been the greatest as far as getting rest and prepping myself for a race I‘d never done before. We were supposed to leave at 7am but Josh called at 6:30 to tell me he was ready, damn early birds. Turra was worried about me using running shoes on BMX pedals instead of changing into cycling shoes. With 2 transitions back and forth and the bike only being 15 miles, there wasn’t much to worry about, I thought. Like any hard workout I try to weigh myself before and after to gage water loss. Damn!! I’m 3 pounds too light for Clydesdale (200+) so I’m racing with the mid-life crisis old guys.

We arrived on time, registered and took a lap by bike and the 1st thing I found out, the course was hilly! There wasn’t a flat spot to be found except for a hundred yards every now and then. The warm up run proved that my legs were in fact still dead from the Wednesday night ride. To make things uglier for me was the fact some sadist placed the start line at the base of the longest hill. The course was 1 lap run, 5 lap bike, 1 lap run unless you were doing the biathlon which you didn’t do the 2nd run. (wimps) I racked my bike with a spare tube, Co2 and a little snack,… time to get my butt kicked.

Run 1 - The passive side beat down the aggressive side and I started mid to back of the pack so I wouldn’t get run over by faster runners but not have to pass stragglers. It didn’t work as I was tripping and stumbling around trying to pass people who were slower. By the time I crested the hill there were runners strung out for hundreds of yards. I have a little of Moto Dog in me and when I see something moving, I chase it. (competitors, not groundhogs!) mixed in with the group were people wearing cycling specific team jerseys so I fixated myself on them and used them as rabbits to motivate me. It worked pretty well and by the end of the run I had made some decent progress but was worried I’d burned one too many matches getting there catching a Stark Velo and a couple Snake Bites along the way.

The Bike - More like push a bike as you can’t ride your bike inside the transition area. My set up was simple, flip the brain bucket on (yes I have a little left to protect) and stuffed my pockets, snatched the bike and ran cyclocrossed onto it and realized “NO RIDING IN TRANSITION”!! Shit, jump off run out of the area and a little extra for good measure to brown nose the officials and remounted.

The last thing I wanted to do was blow up so I eased into this leg only to have a couple guys on full blown tri bikes pass me right out of the gates. Luckily for me these guys can’t climb hills worth a damn on their sport specific bikes and I easily re-passed them long before the top then let my heart rate settle in before hitting it hard. In a time trail you pace yourself to bonk or blow chunks as you cross the finish line but here I had to save energy for run 2. This was going to be hard to gage since I’d never done one of these before. I did the same thing as on the run making forward progress picking off every bike I could see. A few times guys would re-catch me on the easy stuff but as soon as we hit the harder hills they dropped off like they had the brakes on.

The course was 4 cornered so I treated the course like a criterium and dove into them as hard as I could without killing anyone or myself. The downhill 90 was the best for passing as everyone hit the brakes early. I melted my pads trying to get stopped passing 2 and 3 people while braking and nearly wiping the safety cones out each lap. The aggressive riding was taking it’s toll and I had to coast a short bit and stretch my back before it seized. I caught and passed 3 of my friends who do this stuff all the time so I was feeling good but worried about how many were burned that I would need later. At the end of the 5th lap I was so anxious to get the 2nd run over with I turn onto the bike path by mistake where the runners go for transition, DAMN!!! I slammed the brakes on and swerved into the grass, across the gravel berm and back onto the road before too many people could get a good laugh at me.

Run 2 - Now I know why triathletes come to a stop when dismounting, holy cow I had gummy legs!! I jumped off at speed like in a ‘cross race and just about bit it. Luckily my rack was at the far end so was able to use the bike to steady me while running. I racked the bike and tried to run doing my best impersonation of a drunken runner. I guess the fun was over as the final run was boring as as a political debate and I only saw two people the whole time. All the bikes that I had been gaining on in the last two straights were only doing the biathlon and didn’t have to run again, wimps!! (I wish I had been a wimp) ½ way into the final run 2 guys behind me slowly reeled me in and one got by. Luckily he was in a different age group, woohoo!! I didn’t think that finish line would ever come into sight and when it did I was trying my best not to let the 2nd guy catch me. To my surprise they handed me a medal when I crossed the line and it took me a few minutes to figure out I placed 3rd in my age group and of course I immediately wondered if there were only 3 of us entered! I finished in about 1:25, 15 minutes faster than Turra predicted and about a day and half sooner than my own prediction.

The finish line was cool, a whole box of donuts were waiting there for me!! Josh came in about 10 minutes later and when I offered him one he turned white and looked like death warmed over. I forgot he doesn’t do well with the thoughts of food after a big work out, sorry Josh! I got harassed by my friends for using running shoes on the bike but it was from all the guys I had passed! We grabbed our bikes and did a warm down and to my mistake, forgot to check my computer to see my bike split which was worthless as I forgot to start my stopwatch too. Lets see if I can get rested up before Saturday’s 100 mile time trial.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

OCC Sufferama

If having my legs ripped off by Scott wasn't bad enough, I went against better judgement and went to the Orrville Cycling Club Team ride last night.

The ride started ok with me feeling not so ok. Part way through I felt like I might be coming to life. About 3/4 of the way through I somehow managed to out sprint Big Dave for a green sign. A few miles later I was at the front taking my turn pulling. I had been keeping them shorter than usual due to my lack of confifdence in my fitness.

Then it happened. While at the front I was thinking about the pain in my back and my legs. I felt like I was burrying myself for the satisfaction of going fast and getting a work out. It didn't take long to make up my mind and I pulled off to the left, way off. I sat up and just left them go trying to decide if this is really what I want to do.

I've pretty much decided that this year is going to be my year to say screw bicycle racing and just ride for fun.

Maybe next year.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Michael Challenge

I really would like to do a few races this year that require endurance. I’ve been trying to ride long on the weekends and it has been slowly kicking my butt. The 1st attemp was following Scott Luikart where he pretty much destroyed Mark Sclater and I in only 65 miles.

The 2nd attempt was last weekend where I tried to do a hilly Atwood Lake ride on the single speed. Everything went fine until I climbed New Cumberland hill. I didn’t think you could pedal that slow and not fall over. 71 miles later, I finished not feeling too bad.

Today was a totally different story though. The 1st week was Scott killing me, last week the hills, this week it was Mother nature and her blowhard ways. The day started off bad from the beginning as my chain kinked a ½ mile from home. I could have fixed it but went home and replaced it instead. Now I am late and hauling but trying tog et to Bolivar by 9am. Made it on time and headed south with the group. I haven’t spent that much time fighting winds in a long time. The trip down south was pretty spirited as Bob D and Mike took pulls in the high 20’s and sometimes 30mph. I only took my pulls at 25mph and for a good reason. The tail wind we were enjoying was going to turn into the devils breath on the way back.

We left Newcomerstown and headed north and just as suspected, it was a sufferama. I pulled as long and often as I could to build on my endurance hoping for 2 things, workout and keep the cooking so we weren‘t out there all day. The plan almost backfired as 2 of the riders joining me started to hit the wall with 10 miles to their cars. Luckily we were near where I wanted to split off so Chuck waited for the stragglers while I headed home.

I could feel the energy slowly leaving me and the miles started to take longer and longer. I tried to think about racing the KTM but that only made me pedal faster and make things worse. For some reason when I think about racing the motorcycle I get a little tense or hyper depending on what I am doing.

Strasburg, 15 miles to go, 4 climbs along the way, I praying for a limping truck I can draft, no luck, they’re all flying. 10 miles to go, I’m in Stark County and climbing the longest climb before home. The hill is blocking the wind so it is easier than the open flats, still sucks. I’m finally over the 3rd hill, thank God I didn’t ride the single speed!!

Things are looking grim. I keep reaching for my phone but resist the urge. I opt out for the towpath trail and bypass the final climb up Warmington. My legs are cramped, my butt is burning, my back and kidney area aches, still 3 miles to go. Praying for rednecks on 4 wheelers to shot me and stop the misery. I finish off my 4th water bottle and 4th granola bar and 2nd goo pack was downed a few miles ago. ARGH, I forgot by going this was I still had to climb both sections of Walnut!!

97 miles and I finally reach the garage but I am afraid to unclip thinking my leg would collapse upon standing. All goes well and I am able to collapse in the bathtub where I slept for a ½ hour.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tucson - the trip home

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. We knew it was going to be a long flight home, the flight was overbooked and there were at least 5 babies getting on and close to a dozen children. The rest was filled with various walks of life. The skies were clear and the military planes were leaving at regular intervals leaving you with the secure feeling that there weren’t going to be any enemy air attacks any time soon.

They started begging for some one to take a later flight as a late arrival just had to be on this flight.

Just before we were to board the plane an attendant asked a woman to check a baby buggy of as the buggy wasn’t allowed inside the cabin and would be returned to them immediately upon landing. When asked she her and the old man if they had purchased a separate ticket for the child you could tell they weren’t too happy. There were no extra seats available and I had the feeling this woman thought she was just so special the airline would make an exception for just little ole her. Eventually she quit discussing the issue and allowed them to take the buggy and the old man returned to his seat.

They continued begging for a passenger to take a later flight offering cash and vouchers. I would have taken it but the next flight was 5 hours away and I had Turra with me.

Then there was the sun bunny who was so tanned she looked like an over baked ginger bread man no one wanted to eat.. She was all dressed up with somewhere to go, decked out in huge spiked platform sandals, skin tight jeans and fake fingernails that were so long she could barely use her fingers. Must have been a late night down at the teen club as she tried all morning to sleep across two chairs wrapped up in a coat.

We finally got to board the plane and as luck would have it, we pretty much boarded last with unassigned open seating. By the time we made it on board, all the good seats were taken and the only multiple open seats left were the back row. So we could sit relatively close together, we took the back row, me at my favorite spot, the window and her near the isle so she could stretch out. I was hoping for some one good to sit there, young and hot, middle aged and sexy, a cougar, even a kid would do.

Then it happened, The Butt Sisters, two huge beefalos, Betty Butch and her Queen came charging down the isle demanding the steward (yes, we had male attendants) give them side by side seating because her “companion” as she called her, had medical issues that required getting up every 10 minutes so the coumadin in her wouldn’t cause blood clots. Someone needed to tell the cranky assed tubby that coumadin prevents blood clots, not cause them. No one wanted to get stuck with two tubbies in the same row so the butch looking one decided to plant herself between us. At 1st we thought she was going to need a giant shoe horn or a little anal lube to get her enormous butt between the arm rest but somehow she managed to wedge herself in and no, it wasn’t very pretty.

Queen Coumadin seemed content to be where she was but Betty Butch was not a happy tubby. She huffed and puffed and tried to get her own way but to no avail, the plane took off with her stuck, literally to me. At least she didn’t stink! If it hadn’t been for the arm rests, I would have been smashed between the human garbage disposal and the narrowing tail section of the plane. Turra was hanging into the isle way in total disbelief.

We were no long up to altitude when the stewards came by and asked if we wanted any snacks? Betty Butch couldn’t decide so she took one of every thing along with a large bag of cookies presented to her by Queen Coumadin. It didn’t take long before all the snack food was devoured and crumbs swept away all over me, the floor and who knows where else. I’m surprised she didn’t inhale them like a human Hoover. Meanwhile I was trying to eat some peanuts when one dropped from my hand. I was afraid to catch it as my hand might get caught up in her diving for it, she did look famished you know.

Then came the fun part, Betty Butch evidently doesn’t do well on roller coasters either. As soon as we hit bad weather and the plane started pitching she started getting nauseous all the while the sweet wide cheeks who was supposedly sick, never batted an eye. Poor Betty kept wobbling all over in her seat pushing me up against the wall, excusing herself, then repeating, lean forward, lean back, pitch left, pitch right. She couldn’t sit still for the longest time until she finally closed her eyes, probably praying for a ho ho. The whole time this was going on I kept my head buried in a video game while listening to music trying like hell to keep the Butt Sisters out of my mental (and physical) space.

We finally made final approach to Chicago when I realized that Queen Coumadin, who was supposed to get up every 10 minutes, never left her friggin seat!! I think these two dikes were trying to pull a fast one just to get to sit together. One could only imagine what would happen to the 3rd person in the row that housed those two as the 3rd person would surely have to be as skinny as Kalista Flockart.

I know this may offend some people but now I understand why Airlines want to charge double seating for the obese. It is a shame that we (they) are that way. It’s one thing to have a little fat, padding or what ever you want to call it but to be carrying enough girth to take up the space of 2-3 people is absurd. I have plenty of chunky friends and they aren’t that big I once saw a guy who was at least 400+ riding in an electric scooter. He left the buffet table with huge heaping helpings of everything he could get onto TWO plates, one on each leg to take back to his table. When you need to use a scooter to get to the table, the last place you need to take your fat ass is a freaking buffet! Last summer I met a woman in Marietta who was born in France and lived Amsterdam. When I asked her what she thought of America, the 1st thing from her mouth was “there are so many fat people. It’s probably just a bad case of hyperactive jaw bone combined with an inability to get off one’s ass to do anything other than walk to the fridge.

Sorry if I offended anyone, I need a donut…

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tucson, Day 5

One more attempt to make it up Mt Lemon. I left at 6.30 to avoid the heat. Part way there I rode off the side of the road when the pave shoulder just ended. Seems like I missed a turn when I head down and wasn't paying attention. Nothing looked familiar so I asked a guy at an intersection how to get back to the hill. Once back on course I stopped at mile Zero for a bite to eat before subjecting myself to stupidity of climbing while still sick. One hour down, many more to go...

Being the weekend there were more people on the mountain, unfortunately, most of them behind me. Why would you want to climb during the full heat of the day? Seems like only 4 people had the same idea as there were 3 on the mountain already and a woman passed me while I was munching a non-peanut butter infested cliff bar.

I started the stopwatch and rolled up the hill in search of the well filled spandex that had just passed by. I wish she was a little faster as riding alone is boring and she made a fine view while drafting. However, at her pace I am not sure I would have made it by night fall. I pressed on and around mile 3 passed a couple older gentlemen chatting away while wobbling all over the road. At this point I was averaging around 9 miles and hour and was looking to finish in around 2.5 hours. It was kinda nice having some people ahead to pace off of but they were too far and too few in between. Somewhere around mile 9 I passed another senior citizen riding a beautiful flat black campy 6/13. From then on it was boringsville and smokers hack the rest of the way.

Turra and her parents were going to meet me at the fudge shop at the top and have a picnic lunch at one of the overlooks. I was in fear of them getting there a long time before me and forcing me to get in the car with them not allowing me to finish the climb. So every time I heard a car coming up behind me I hoped it wasn't white. The mentally hard part was, there was a white car that kept passing me, repeatedly, as he was stopping at all the overlooks. At mile 14 I passed him for good while his hood was up with a jug of water sitting on the fender waiting for the radiator. WOOHOO - I WON!! Man beats machine!! (A faulty machine!)

Around mile 16 I started to feel good and for the 1st time thought I would really make the top with ease. About 500 feet past mile 20 where I had stopped a few days earlier I started to feel the dreaded bonk crawling up my legs. I looked down and saw I still had 2 more gears to go so like a girly girl, used them, a lot! I pressed on changing between sit and stand trying use my 200 pound butt to make the pedals go down. At around mile 22 the terrain leveled off and even had a down hill to help me relax. The turns were fast, fun and lined with snow, the cold air chilling me pretty good making the legs feel heavy on the next climb. It's amazing how fast you can row that shifter from high gear to panzyville riding at a clip you are sure a desert tortoise could out run.

The longer I rode, the longer it seemed to take for the next mile marker to pop up. At one point I swear I saw the number 18 go past twice! I finally started to see civilization and the sign near mile 24 noting the town of Summerhaven, time 2:28:15 a hair under 10 mph. What a relief!!

I continued on into town and then headed up to the ski slopes. Holy Cow, this road is steeper! I was down to gear 1 and starting to wobble like those old men. The sun was at full mast and blaring down like a blow torch. If it hadn't been for the sun, I would have thought it were raining from all the sweat. I think this portion has the the steepest and hardest climb that ended at a gate. I should have went further but I turned back for town to meet up with the crew and lunch so they wouldn't call out the rangers to come find me. By the time I made it to the meeting place I had in over 4 hours of riding, most of it up hill including the climb from the valley floor to mile zero.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tucson - Day 2

THIS PLACE IS HOT!!! Not as in babe hot, more like satin hot. Been sick with sore throat and sinuses since arrival. Got up early this morning and rode to the golf course with Pierre where I was dropped off in front of this sign.

Loaded to the rim with 4 bottles, couple tubes, tools, food and some other misc junk I headed to mile post 0 at the bottom of the hill. At the 1st switchback I saw a line of bikes following me up the hill. At mile post 4 I was wondering why. Next the thing I knew a guy on a TT bike passes me but only lasted another mile and turned back. By mile post 6 I figured I’d try to make it to 10. When I finally made it to 10 I thought try for half way, 12. I kept saying I was going to turn around at the next milepost but I kept going. My mistake was stopping to take a picture of mile post 20, a point I thought might be my last and it was near the visitors center.

I got back on the bike, went a couple hundred yards to about the 8,000 ft. mark and said “..it” and turned back to the visitors center. While I was there, the 2nd pursuer passed by me
The trip back was pretty easy as I stopped at the 1st 5 lookouts for pictures. At one lookout a rider asked me if it got any easier. I told him not really and he said “your hurting me!” The dude had his friends meet him at the top, he still had 10 miles to go.

At the last overlook I stopped at, a couple riders who had turned around came screaming by. Chase or coast? I chased of course and it took a while and sat up around mile post 2 intent to follow them the rest of the way. Rider one looked back and saw me and of course, hit the drops and took off. When will little scrawny guys learn you aren’t beating my fat butt to the bottom of a hill. Once we hit the flats I pulled up beside them to see where they were from, they sat up, I guess since they didn’t shake me, I wasn’t good enough for them.

I made it back to the condo totally exhausted got cleaned up, went to the docs for drugs and then off to the air museum. 8pm and it finally cooled off.

This Taylorcraft was built in Alliance Ohio where I grew up and the building where my father worked for Sancap.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tucson, Day 1

WOW, this place is hot and dry. The roads are ok, not much different from home except for the wider berms. I rented a Caad5 Cannondale and took an hour spin. The buildings all look alike and sometimes makes finding my way home a little difficult.

The condo is at the base of the mountains containing Mt Lemon, my goal for tomorrow, if the sore throat and ear ache subsides.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

1st OCC ride of the season

Boy did I suffer and freeze. I tried to ride in the rear and away from any aggressive riding but in the end I rolled off the back and rode my own pace back to the shop. I was so depressed, I called Lifeline and got a call center in Pakistan. When I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck? At least I didn't get a flat.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

2008 World Submarine Racing Championships

It was a photo finish!!

What were you expecting?

Bissell Contest

Looks like Moto didn't make the cut. Most of the winning dogs were your averge run of the mill designer dogs from puppy mills.

Oh well, maybe next time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Moto needs your vote!!

Miss Moto needs you vote to become the Bissell MVP. If you've ever been around this shedder, you know why she needs a new sweeper!

If she wins, she promise to rid you refrigerator of any unwanted meat products. A promise even Obama couldn't keep.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Threading needles with camels

The Bible says that it is easier for a camel to walk through the eye of the needle than it is for man to get into heaven. The bible was written well before the invention of the motorcycle and I wonder if it had been written in this modern time if motorcycles would even be mentioned. Maybe if it had, Jesus would have ridden into town on a Hodaka! My threading has nothing to do with camels or needles but may have ended at the gates of heaven had luck not been on my side.
Many years ago I was heading home late one night traveling west on Huckleberry St. over the top of a hill at a high rate of speed when two deer stepped out into the road in front of me. They panicked and tried to run back into the woods but could not gain any traction on the pavement. They were hogging up my half of the road trying to get away and I couldn’t come close to getting stopped. I was on the brakes as hard as I could while aiming for an open spot.
Like in the story of Moses, the seas parted just enough for the Transalp to sneak between the deer. If I had not been in a total white knuckle panic I could have let go of the brakes and slapped each of them on the rump as I passed between them. All three of us filled the west bound lane and before I knew it, I was between the deer and sweating up a storm counting my blessings.
Last Tuesday night I was heading home from Blackhawk Powersports in Strasbug when rounding a corner, it was de-ja-vu. Two deer walked into the road half way around the turn and when I sighted them, one was completely in my lane while the 2nd was crossing the white edge line just coming onto the pavement.
It happened way too fast and I was too close, none of us had any time to react and being leaned over in a curve left me very little options except to ride it out. I watched as the nose of the deer on my right passed inches from my handlebar. In a flash I was nearly wiping the butt of the other deer with my left knee then it was open road, an elevated heart rate and instant sweat running forming inside my helmet.
This time I never even had time to get a finger on the controls or a toe on the brake pedal. Once again I managed to thread a camel through the eye of a needle and succeeded only though the grace of God. I am afraid the next time may be the charm as I don’t really think the deer could get any closer without making contact, and believe me, I do not want to try.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Why God gave them Camels....

Thanks to John in California..

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


A long time ago in a land not so far away I was competing in a 2 hour cross country event (harescramble). Normally I hoot and holler at the spectators trying to get them riled and into the action, especially kids. If you can get a kids attention by acting wild or goofy, you'll have a cheering section every lap. Get a enough kids and you'll have a cheer every mile.

Being the person I am, I yell "hi" to every girl I see around the course. At this particular event I was cruising along weaving through the trees trying to maintain some flow when what do I see but a couple of drop dead gorgeous women standing in a corner. Of course I had to say hi but this time, because they were exceptionally hot, my eye contact lingered just long enough for the front tire to wash out tossing me to the ground and thumping my head on a tree.

It really didn't hurt my head but it took me a few seconds to get myself together and by then the two girls came over to ask if I was OK. I should have fained needing CPR but the embarrassment of the situation took over and I fled the scene getting back into the race.

If this distraction was there, I would have crashed hard enough to hurt myself!! Do not click if you are easily offended. Motorcycle Exhibitionist

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What a day for a ride

I wanted a good and hard ride today. I left just before 1pm to see if Tim and his cronies were riding the snow covered atv trails yet. I figured to get a good work out in so I rode the Lemond 'cross disc with 35c Kenda Kwicks, they weren't there so I did a short loop before heading north to see if the roadies were coming out to play. They didn't, probably sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for the stupor bowl.

I called Tim, he wasn't even ready yet so I rode down the tracks and did 2 loops of the atv trail and some other stuff before deciding to call it a day. Here comes the gringos now, about 1.5 hours late!

At one point Joe and I had a drag race going with him on his 29r as we cranked through a whooped out section of the rail bed making it up to around 15mph before I backed down with the 35c's slicing and cutting all over the place and I didn't want to fall on that nice cold hard steel rail we were following. Do you know what you get when you cross a creek and a stream? Wet feet! The creek crossing was ok and I only soaked one foot.

I called it quits shortly afterwards and headed home. The 'cross bike was one tough workout in the 3" of wet slop. My arms are mush from fighting the bars and my legs are toast and I keep falling asleep typing this...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Indoor Motocross Gone Bad

Bryan and I headed to NEMX indoor motocross Sunday morning to put in a few laps and knock some of the rust out of our old knee caps.
Upon arrival we found a driveway and parking lot of nothing but ice. You'd think that a company that owns all kinds of excavating equipment could at least put a little salt down, plow a little snow, maybe put down a little grit? Not a chance baby!
We unloaded the machines staggering around like a couple of frozen drunks in the 10 degree heat wave that was engulfing the area. The building inside was even warmer at about 20 degrees but there were heated crappers and a heated spectator section and changing room along with plenty of seating in the Popsicle section.
The track was pretty cool for an indoor track with plenty of jumps. The bad part was my mind wasn't fully connected to my body as I made many impersonations of a total rookie. Luckily I signed up to ride in the expert practice sessions so I only had to look out for my self and not me and 30 other flying out of control nut cases.
I always tell myself RELAX but it wasn't working Sunday. My 1st attempt at relaxing to alleviate arm pump resulted in my planting the front wheel about 16" below the top of the landing ramp just about sterilizing myself and shearing the gas cap off the fuel cell. Luckily the suspension absorbed the height of the jump and rolled over it allowing the bike to stay under my petrified body.
My 2nd attempt at trying to be relaxed resulted in my bike flying vertical through the air with me hanging on for life in what looked like a half assed back flip. Luck was with me again as the rear wheel cleared the second jump setting down on the flat however the bike continued to roll in its still vertical position till it hit the 3rd jump. The impact flopped the bike back down onto both wheels allowing me to panic stop on the top of the berm just before I would have rolled into another lane of the track.
Many more cased jumps, swaps, near low-sides, endos and shear panic attacks I decided enough was enough and I need to live to die another day. Bryan wasn't have a very good day either and agreed without hesitation.
I'm sure we'll be back