2018 was one further step into adulthood. I do not want to grow up. Part of me never will – but every time the sun sets and rises I find myself drifting more towards turtlenecks and further from reckless behavior. I don’t like it. I am personally offended by time and entropy. The extent of my offense is sad, really. So, all I can do is harness this Peter Pan complex and unleash it in a controlled environment. I’ll probably always be like this… I think the personality trait at the root of the issue is fear. Fear that someday slips into tomorrow and blinks into never, and fear that one day I’ll look back and have regrets. If a person has any ambition at all then they will have regrets. The retrospectoscope is 20/20 no matter how near sighted the present is. We live and learn and correct our mistakes but the lesson is always in the future and cannot be applied now. I often find myself thinking that I should have spent more time with this person or that, or I should have slept more so I could apply more energy at activity X. I don’t know, I guess by the time we figure it out we’re dead. It’s not lost on me how fortunate I am. I have a pretty high level of happiness and life satisfaction which is the direct result of thinking about my decisions and learning from the past. Trying to optimize everything.
I digress. Here is a short summary of events which meant the most to me during the last trip around our Sun.
Heather. I love being married. My wife is the best and she will never get all the credit she deserves because I don’t know how to capture the moon. We have known each other more than half our lives. We know where each other comes from which gives our relationship a solid foundation and intimacy which is nearly impossible to find. A week does not go by in which I’m not impressed by her wisdom, selflessness, and ability to communicate. I value her opinion highly and count on her in ways I never thought I would ever allow myself to count on anybody. I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you. Words fail. All I have is gratitude and appreciation. I love you.
Bike Racing. I’m pulling off being a professional athlete and it’s not what you see on TV. Outside of the Olympics, Cross Country Mountain bike racing isn’t on TV and thus there is not much money in it. Being a professional cross country mountain bike racer is very low in monetary reward and very high in prestige to a small Sub-sub culture. There are about 200 professional male mountain bikers in the country and snagging my pro card from USA Cycling is something I never predicted. I’m shocked to be here and know this is a rare opportunity to seize. With it came a collapsing black hole which pulls me deeper and deeper. It is all consuming to race mountain bikes professionally and I want to thank you for tolerating me while I find out how far I can push my body and mind.
Shane and Sarah’s wedding celebration. I first got to know Shane in the 9th grade. He was our safety tackle and champion high jumper and at some level I’ll always think of him like that. He was my first roommate and I knew I’d be well covered if he had the sniper rifle when we were playing Halo. It doesn’t matter how many years pile on – we’ll always be able to pick up right where we left off [which was probably a very offensive joke]. He married a smart woman and they invited Heather and I to an evening filled with most of my favorite people in one of my favorite places. Hell yes. I can’t ask for anything more. I love you both and hope we may dance together again.
Bend, Oregon. It’s no secret that Heather and I love Bend Oregon. Just call it Pleasantville. We get to stay at our favorite hotel, take our dog and visit a good friend. We just unwind and relax. It has a great vibe. It feels safe and welcoming and unpretentious. We get to tube with our dog. This year Jim and Alison went and we introduced them to the rapids. Some of my best memories are made there. Just be sure to “get your head in the game”, “you actual retard”.
101st edition of the Giro di Italia. Think of your favorite sport. Now think of your favorite team. Now think of your favorite event. Now imagine someone asks if you’d like to become part of the team and run the medical side of things at that event which goes throughout Italy. To say I am lucky is an understatement. Working for Education First – Drapac was an opportunity I never considered to even be a possibility. It’s in the same realm as imagining one day you’ll own a yacht or be a movie star or a professional athlete. I made some friends. I made some memories. I got sick and took antibiotics and walked around The Coliseum. I worked hard and did what I could to assist apex road cyclists with attaining their goals. And the boys surprised us with espresso and pizza.
Kauai. Thanks to my kickass in laws (who gets to say that?) Kauai feels like our second home. Our time in Kauai puts us in a groove. Naturally wake at sunrise, exercise, stretch, shower, acai bowl/egg sandwich, coffee, beach, nap, read, burrito, read, sunset, eat, sleep. It’s the perfect life. We’d live to be 120 if we lived like that every day. I promise I’m not bragging. I’m just reminiscing. Here’s Heather in Heaven:
Downieville. I found gold in the Sierra Nevadas. It’s still kind of a secret so I’m going to shut up.
Best songs 2018:
“On ‘The Road’ again –
that was a reference to Cormac McCarthy.
33, still singing fuck the police
while the mark of the beast
surrounds me through targeted marketing.”
“Every other rap is another bad attempt to redefine pain.
Teen angst never left these veins
Guess that I can’t win if I don’t pay.
The sting of failure never fades away.
But it’s all ok…..
David Bowie’s ghost told me that
we could be heroes one day.”
It’s poetry. The song is unlike anything I’ve ever heard. Smart but crude. Pessimistic yet hopeful. References to Cormac McCarthy, David Bowie’s ghost and being 33 with a Peter Pan complex. Substitute “Still singing these songs” for “Still racing these bikes” in part 1 and “rap” for “race” in part 4 and it is shockingly parallel. If you find another song like this then please send it my way. Thank you.
To me this is a song about keeping up with the grind as much as it is an instruction. “Keep movin’ forward” is sang 67 times in 5 minute 24 seconds. Life is tragic. For everyone. All you can do is accept it, learn from it, and move forward. Great strength is found when action is taken and not just written or talked about. Failure becomes more prevalent at the top level of any sport. I hate losing. Losing feels as bad as the death of a pet.
Here is the song most of you will appreciate. The link above is even set to a Karate Kid montage for extra nostalgic effect. The Midnight has been a favorite music group for the past few years and they introduced me to a whole new genre of music called “Synthe wave”. Full of vibrant cords and pop beats that feel like the best of a warm Summer you had decades ago. Give it a try. Youtube is filled with their songs set to 80s/90s movie montages. I dare you not to tap your foot to the beat or get amped.
Best books 2018:
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
“There he goes. One of God’s own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.” I like freak shows and this book made me laugh harder than any other book I’ve read in the last few years. I look forward to exploring more from Hunter S Thompson. Here’s a short video of some of the one liners.
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.
Here’s a self help book that I cannot recommend more. At the crux of what is said is to try to be better than you were yesterday. Stop comparing yourself to others. Help your family, help your community and always tell the truth. Also, stop to pet animals you encounter on the street.
Long road trips. Shedding skin in multiple states. Cheap motel rooms. Bad food. This is a cautionary tail which details one sarcastic mans journey into professional cycling. It is an account of the beauty of hardship and perseverance involved in chasing a dream.
For the 3 of you who made it this far, thank you. You are the people for whom I write… and try to explain myself to. I hope this helps. Love you! Sometimes it’s hard to be a human being when you don’t even know what being human means, but it sure is fun.