Thursday, March 15, 2018

Steven Hawkings

I get to work at 7 AM. It has it's advantages over getting in at 8AM.

There are not many people in the office at that time and it's a good time to settle in and get started working. It's pretty quiet, so I can get into a good frame of mind before the day gets loud.

But some mornings, it's already loud when I get there. Not because there are more people.

Sometimes "Larry" and "Curt" are excited to tell each other stuff. "Randy" is always involved in the conversation, but I never hear a word he says. Presumably, Randy is not a loud-mouth obnoxious asshole.

I'm about done with the word "mansplain," which is too bad because I read that it just made it into the dictionary.  It seems like blogger doesn't know this yet because it's got a red squiggly line under it as I look at it, indicating it is misspelled.

But these guys manspain at each other some mornings. Really loud. Back and forth.  Sometimes they ask Randy for verification.  I don't hear what Randy says, but they both hear him and the mansplaining continues.

You know what that means? They could all talk to each other at Randy's volume and I wouldn't hear them. They must want me to hear what they are saying.  They are clearly out to impress anyone within earshot (roughly a quarter of a mile). That's the ONLY reason to talk that loud.

Anyway, yeah. So what? They talk loud and it's annoying.  But this morning I was glad I heard this stuff. 

Sometimes, when I'm reading, I marvel at the imagination it takes to write a good story.  The work it must take that I so easily take for granite [sic]. 

I will read a few sentences and stop and consider if I think I could have come up with that in a million years.  Not if it was complete fiction. 

That's why I enjoyed this terribly dumb conversation.  I learned a couple of things I didn't know while hearing some of the stupidest shit ever.

So there was talk about the NIT tournament and the Minnesota quarterback getting traded.  Then it turned to talk of that one song by Pink Floyd and how amazing it was because Steven Hawkings [sic] sang in it.  Ok - I know his name was "Stephen Hawking" but I'm pretty sure if these guys decided they were a disruption and should just pass notes, they'd spell it "Steven Hawkings."

But I did not know Pink Floyd had a song (feat. Stephen Hawking).

So the conversation went like this:

"No, Curt. I know the song you're talking about, but it wasn't Pink Floyd. It was that one song.  It definitely wasn't Pink Floyd."

"No Larry. It was definitely Pink Floyd. And Steven Hawkings was talking on it."

"Hang on Curt. I remember. It was that one song called "Behind Blue Eyes"

Now when I heard this, I was not thinking of the song by "The Who." I was thinking of the song "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel.  Now I'm not going to say that Peter Gabriel was the best singer, but he did not sound anything like the synth voice thing Stephen Hawking used. So I was confused.

Then Larry said, "Who sings that song, Randy?"

Silence. Then, "Oh yeah - that's right. The Who. But it was somebody else doing that song."

At that point I went to get a cup of coffee. Actually, I take my own coffee, but I have to rinse out my cup each day. That's what I went to do.

When I got back, they had it all figured out. Larry had clearly consulted "teh goggle box"

 "So here's what it was.  Limp Bizkit did "Behind Blue Eyes" and in one part, they couldn't get the real Steven Hawkings voice, so they got an impersonator. Pink Floyd actually got the real Steven Hawkings's voice. So we were both right."


"Shut the fuck up Randy. You know what? You got [sic] a big mouth!"

I can only imagine what Randy said. But I bet he is a quiet mansplainer.  There's always one.  I like to think he whispered something like, "No you're both fucking idiots.  That wasn't Stephen Hawking's voice. He had no voice. It was synthesized speech. Morons!" 

God bless Randy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Summer Afternoon

A boy sits, legs crossed on a wooden floor.  The sheer curtains are getting blown around by the late summer breeze. The boy is watching something on television.  The shell of the TV is a sort of bumpy silver aluminum.  It stands on four dark brown legs.  There is an antenna on top of the TV with it's ears fully extended.

The boy isn't really interested in the TV. He is watching his mother. He knows she is 'mom' but he doesn't really understand that. To the boy she is just the pretty, smiling woman who is always here.

His mother has blond hair. She seems to be different than before today, but the boy doesn't remember much about before today.  He thinks her hair was brown before but the boy likes the blond hair. He thinks his mom is beautiful.  He watches her ironing clothes. The ironing board makes a rhythmic sharp creaking sound every time the iron goes toward the pointed end of the board.

She looks up from her ironing because of a rustling sound in the room behind her. It is the dining room and the boy is in the living room with the mother ironing between the two.

She sees the boy watching her and smiles at him and goes to check on the baby in the crib behind her.  The baby is the boy's brother. The boy doesn't know his brother or when he showed up. It doesn't seem like the brother was always here. He might have been here before today but the boy isn't sure. He thinks his brother will be here after today but doubts he'll remember it.  This makes the boy sad. He looks at his knees and how his legs go into his socks and shoes. He feels the shoes with his hand but cannot feel them with his feet.  He hopes his feet are ok. He sighs and looks at the TV. It's mostly static, but sometimes he can see people and hear talking and that's pretty neat.

He wonders when the man will be back. The man doesn't smile like his mother does. But the man is very strong.  He can throw the boy into the sky and catch him when he comes back down. The boy likes when he does that, but sometimes the strong man is very scary.

This is my earliest memory.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

The lost story of Inky

I don't know who Inky Henderson is or was. I think Inky died many years ago. I am going to try to find out though and I will get back to you.  There are few people who know the story. Maybe there is only one.  Maybe it is not even a good story.  Maybe Inky's last name is or was spelled "Hendersen." It is not for me to say.

Exactly 3 years ago was 6 days before I heard the story of Inky Henderson.  I think Inky was a girl.

I completely forgot everything about the story I heard. It was being told to me by my dad who was drunk. Also, I was drunk. Which is probably why I don't remember the story at all.

But I was not face to face with my dad. We were talking on the phone. This is lucky because even though I was drunk, I could tell it was a great story so I tried to take notes about it as he was telling it to me.

I'm sure that if I had read the notes the next day, I could have put the whole thing together.

But I did not read the notes the next day. I read them just now. I jotted the following down while talking to my dad on the phone on March 13, 2015.

"fred" in the following is not me or my dad. It was his lifelong friend. A 6 foot tall rabbit. fred is dead now.  Anyway, here it is:

fred didnt believe me wed have never gone back but fred thought I was lying.  car stuck

inky henderson.  started going under.  everybdy standed there looking.

house fire the next night. 

Now I honestly don't know if the first line is part of the Inky Henderson story or something else. I will find out.

I have to say it doesn't look good for Inky on "the next night."  It looks like Inky narrowly escapes death one night only to become the victim of irony in the next 24 hours.  I could be completely wrong about this.

I don't know if Inky was in a car that was in water somewhere or if she was just drowning.  I will talk to my dad about this. Hopefully one of us is sober when this happens. 

One thing I do know is that "standed" is drunk for "stood"

To be continued ...

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Unnecessarily living with pain

While I was still working back at the UP, I was in fairly ok bike shape. Possibly the best bike shape of my life to that point.  I decided I would run the Corporate Cup. A 10K foot race thing. I figured I could handle it in less than an hour with little trouble.

That was the day I learned that being in fairly ok bike riding shape had nothing to do with running.  I did finish in under an hour. Just barely.  I turned the final corner to see the big clock that said 00:59:22. So I had a block or two to go and about 38 seconds to get there. I sprinted for all I was worth and reached a speed of upwards of 10 miles an hour.  Hobbling across the finish line to the cheer of all the thousands of people who had already finished.   

I think it was about a week later that I was able to walk again without any visible signs of injury. It was a tough week.

The worst of it was my right hip.  It has given me pain off and on since that day (I don't know the year - but I figure it was roughly 15 years ago).

After that day, whenever I decided to get back into running, the pain in my hip would start up. Well, every time except one.

One winter at least 10 years ago, I got to a new low weight (about 190) and decided to get back into running. I decided I'd start slow and quit each session at the first sign of any hip pain. This way, I figured I could gradually work up to running fitness.

It kind of worked. I did a 5K the following March in under my goal time of 25 minutes. Brady helped pace me in on time on that one. He had finished his race and went over to where I was and ran along side me and coaxed me to get across in time.

That particular race featured a keg of beer at the end. Free beer until it was all gone. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for me, it was gone in well under 25 minutes.

I had no hip pain after that race.

Once I got away from running after that, I have never been able to start up without pain.  It didn't matter how slow I went. Running brought pain.

It has been getting worse since last winter. I injured myself trying to jog on the treadmill as part of a warmup for squats.

Squats are far and away my favorite strength training exercise, but that one day of jogging for about 10 minutes, 14 months ago has left me with too much pain to do them.

This winter, I've been warming up on the rollers and trying to do squats (no weight) as much as I can. I can usually get about 5 to 10 in per set before the pain makes me stop.

A couple of years ago, I talked to the doctor about the problem and said it doesn't bug me too much as long as I ride and don't run. He seemed ok with that, so I was too.

We have a couple of rental properties. I am a Lord of some of the finest land near the Benson area.  At one of the slumlike dwellings charming fixer-uppers I own, the renters pay cash each month. They are good renters. They always pay on time.

So last month I put the big stack of cash in my wallet and went to the bank to deposit it.  While I was driving to the bank, my hip was bugging me quite a bit.  It was the same pain as always, but I hadn't been having much pain before I put the extra cash in my ...


So 15 years later, I had a thought forming in my brain. I was driving along, furrowed brow, thinking:

"Hey ... I know."

"What if ..."

"All this time ..."

"The problem has been ..."

"Me sitting on my Costanza-esque wallet."

It can't be that simple. So I immediately dismissed the idea and did nothing about it and have excruciating hip pain to this day.

The End.


Ok so It's probably too early to tell, but after I wondered if maybe my wallet wasn't at least partially to blame for my pain, I looked for an alternative to carrying my money in my back pocket. I tried a couple of different things, but ended up with a solution that I like ever so much. It's basically 2 sheets of carbon fiber the size of a credit card and a strap. I put my cards, driver's license, insurance cards, Regal Theater preferred customer awards card (just kidding), Tile wallet finder, and some cash in it and carry the whole thing in my front pocket.

I have had a little lingering pain since I started doing this 3 weeks ago but nowhere near the pain I had before. Also, I'm on week 2 of squats with more weight than I've used in years and no pain.  Yaay me!

Here's a picture of the thing. It's made by a company called Fidelo and it's pretty sweet.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Last Jedi. A review of the latest Star Wars movie.

Note: This review of the latest Star Wars movie was written a few weeks after it came out.  It was winter and very cold out.  That matters.

Last night, we went to see the new Star Wars movie. I can't say for sure yet, but it might just be the best Star Wars movie of all time!  Why can't I say for sure? Let me explain ...

I hadn’t  really heard anything about it. I don’t actively avoid hearing about movies, but I don’t seek out information either. I like to make up my own mind about a movie without the influence of preconceived notions or expectations.  I have found that going into a movie with high hopes can often result in disappointment.  I’ve seen many excellent movies that I didn’t appreciate while I was first watching them because they were so highly acclaimed.

Forrest Gump is the one that comes to mind. Forrest Gump was in the theaters for roughly 7 years before I finally went to see it. Everybody I knew was saying it was the best movie ever and they should just stop making movies now. Everybody just wants to watch Forrest Gump forever or something.  I knew a little about it. It was about a mentally handicapped guy who walked around talking about chocolates. I wasn’t too interested until it won the academy award for best motion picture ever.  I’m pretty sure it won all of the academy awards for everything that year.

One of my favorite movies of all time is “The Shawshank Redemption, a prison love story.”
“Shawshank” as the fanboys call it, was up against “Gump” for best picture. Gump won – so I now had really high expectations for Gump. It had to be even better than Shawshank Redemption.

So I went to see it.

I did not like it.

But how could I?

If I had known nothing about the movie, I would have thought, “Ok that’s kind of a cute little “Being There” sort of movie (though not nearly as good as “Being There”) that tries to make some sort of deep statement here and there about “Vietnam was a crazy time, man.”

I would have liked it. Not loved it, but I would have thought “Hey – the lesser of the 2 guys from ‘Bosom Buddies’ isn’t a horrible actor”  Peter Scalari totally carried that show.

Unfortunately, I was expecting a movie that was better than “Shawshank.” There’s no such thing.

Well, maybe (just maybe) there is now …

I went to this new "Star Wars: Hey, I Thought She Died" movie not having any idea if I’d like it or not. I’ve heard snippets of high praise and equal measures of “not so much.”

Part of the allure of seeing “Star Wars - The Motion Picture” last night was that it was Tuesday. In Omaha, that means all tickets are just five dollars each.  

We got to the theater at around 6:55 for a 7:00 start. No concern.  I figured there would be at least 10 minutes of trailers (I didn’t know the half of it) and there were a total of 4 people in line for tickets in front of us.

The first two in line were receiving perhaps the most exhaustive customer service I’ve ever seen from a ticket wench.  It was a grandmother and her grandson. The Grandmother wanted to see “Star Wars” and the grandson wanted to see Jumanji, with wrestling’s Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I don’t know anything about how the ticket vending software works, but there appears to be a more complicated procedure in calculating the grand total if there is more than one movie involved in a single transaction. After a few minutes, the capable staff at “The Regal Theater” in North Omaha had it mostly worked out. Since there were 2 tickets sold and even though each ticket was for a different movie, the total came to … ten dollars.

Whew. Glad that’s over. Now all grandma has to do is pay and then it’s 2 more people before I get up there and order four tickets to “Star Wars: Episode who knows”
It’s only been five minutes (since we got into line) and already two tickets have been sold.
Then the cashier says, “Are you a member of our …”


“Why no, tell me about that,” says grandma.  It better be 15 minutes of trailers.
So after the nice lady tells grandma all of the details of the benefits of membership, and signs her up and tells her what she needs to do when she gets home and everything, she swipes the new member card and recalculates the total price for the 2 tickets to the amazingly low price of exactly the same as it was before.

Then grandma does something I’ve never seen before but totally should have seen coming.  She pulls a pack of cards about four inches thick from her pocketbook. Grandmas don’t have purses. They have pocketbooks.

This stack of cards is an assortment of credit cards mixed in with rewards cards from I can only imagine represent “everywhere she’s ever been”

As she shuffles through the enormous deck, looking for the one credit card that is not maxed out, she is comforted by the fact that there is no need to hurry, because there will be a bunch of trailers anyway. 

She pays and now it’s story time. The cashier embarks on that epic tale passed down for generations on how to find “Theater 1” 

“Is it that one right there with the big ‘1’ on the door?” I don’t say, not pointing 30 feet over to the left (my left). 

With that out of the way, there are only two more to take care of.  They are not nearly as slow as Grandma and Jumanji, but they are also completely unprepared when their time at bat comes. First of all, they are not together and they’ve been standing there for so long, I think they forgot where they were. They definitely didn’t know who was next, but luckily, we’re in Nebraska, so they each insist that the other go first.  Like it matters.  The movie will start at the same time for both of them, right? Eventually, one of them stepped up like some kind of rude-ass New Yorker and ordered a ticket for Either “Star Wars, Rise of the Sithilis” or “The non-mork Jumanji”. 

Each exchange was identical for the two remaining patrons in front of me, so I will just describe it once and then you can read  it twice.

“That comes to 5 dollars.”

“What’s that?”

“5 dollars” 

“Oh ok. Thank you. Let me take this time now to find my money. I’m not sure where it is.” 

Person digs out 3 ones, some lint and way too much change.  She pushes it toward the cashier like an “all-in” poker player. 

“Are you a member of our …”

“Why yes I am,“ narrowly averting a double homicide.

As she listens carefully to the same story about the legend of how to find Theater 1, I open my wallet and pull out a $20, just in time to say this:

“Four for Star Wars”

“Ok that’s …”

“Here’s 20. I’m not a member of your whatever and I don’t want to be. Theater 1 is right there. I will enjoy the show.”

So we sit down at 7:10 in time for a full 10 minutes of trailers.

There’s one where Wolverine plays a circus mogul who is the only person in the world who understands freaks and how best to exploit them. It looks pretty fucking touching.

There’s one where Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson befriends a white gorilla named George who grows real big and then everybody wants to kill it. But Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wants him to stay alive.  George also appears to have a huge wolf friend. 

I think there was a Jurassic park trailer too. There were dinosaurs and Jeff Goldblum, so it was probably Jurassic park, but I’m not sure. 

Then there was a scary movie about if you make noise, the things will kill you – so the family just sits around playing Monopoly with felt pieces until the stupid brother knocks over a lamp.  That’s enough noise to start the attack.  Not sure how they fart in this world. Maybe that will be the joke:

Q: how do they fart in that one movie where you have to be quiet?
A: Very quietly. Get it? Quietly. Hardy har har.

Then finally. The movie started. "Star Wars: Don't Even Think about the Episode Number"

It started the same way they all do and I found myself in an extremely relaxed mood.  I had had a strenuous workout. My legs were sore and I was just plain ready for a good old fashioned Star Wars flick. There were only a few people in the theater (including that stupid kid who decided he wanted to watch Star Wars with Grandma instead of flying solo at Jumanji, Starring Not Vin Deisel. Awww! 

So I kicked off my shoes and put my feet up on the back of the chair in front of me and smiled.  This movie was going to be great no matter what.  

Spoiler Alerts ahead!

So about 10 minutes into the movie, just after some hilarious exchange between some Han Solo wannabe and some Imperial Jackass, there's a terrific space battle going on. Explosions, deaths, flashing lights, Announcements over the loud speaker. Really? Flashing Lights?  Hey Wait. Those lights are flashing from the side.  Like the wall. Not the screen.

"... Repeat. Please exit the building in an orderly fashion. This is an emergency ..."

So yeah - we had to all get up and leave the theater.  As we approached the exit, one set of doors to leave was blocked off because there was a ton of shit water raining down through the ceiling. Apparently, some toilet pipe had burst or something. I'm no plumber, but it did not smell good.

Good thing I took the time to put my shoes back on before joining in on the emergency exodus deal.

Once we got outside, we looked back in to see an ice rink of water-poo forming. It was seeping from the doors out to the parking lot.  Many people were standing around demanding a "fucking refund" but we just left. I figured the fine folks at the regal theater would make it right if I just stopped by at a more, uh, convenient time.

Anyway, that's why I can't say for sure if this is the Best Star Wars movie ever.  I have only seen the first 10 minutes or so of it. But so far so good.  I actually spent more time watching trailers than the movie.


Follow up from 24 hours later: We went back to the theater and they let us in to see "Star Wars: Now with less Poopy Water" for free. Also, they gave us 4 tickets to come see another movie sometime. Score.

And yeah - was it the best Star wars Movie of all time? Well, I don't know if you can say it was better than the first 2. But I can. It was the best one ever.

The End.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Response 4 years in the making

Shim Blogged once

Half-Wheel Hero (To the tune of "Juke Box Hero")

Waiting to complain, how can they not know
Couldn’t get registered, closed an hour ago
I need to get loud, I need to get mean
I’ll only do their race, if I can get in free

He had one good card, he decided to play
Saw primes (pronounced ‘preems’) in his eyes, and the very next day
Called a beat up has-been, with a facebook account
Tell them the price is too high, no matter the amount

That one complaint, sounded good in his head
Pros don’t pay, and I’m just like them
Just one complaint, and we’re good to go
They’ll waive the fee, ‘cause I’m so pro

So he started trainin’
This ain’t no stunt
Gotta keep on ridin’
Someday gonna make it to the front

And be a half-wheel hero …

You get the idea.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying

Last year, I posted this about my experience at the Clear Lake Iowa Bicycle, Blues, and BBQ festival.

It's mostly about how much good stuff I learned on that trip.

This year, I have been able to apply much of that when I'm out of town, particularly if I stay overnight. A few weeks back, I did a Saturday/Sunday race weekend in Ames Iowa.  With the exception of a breakfast sandwich and coffee at Panera, I didn't buy any food while I was out of town. I had taken enough from home for the overnight stay.  I packed sandwiches and beverages and stuff. This is way cheaper than buying it all at restaurants, but that's not why I did it.

When you bring your own food, you have complete control over what you eat and when. You can race better if you eat better. Also, I'm sure the town of Ames and the surrounding area has some really neat stuff. But I went directly to and from the races/motel while I was there. Oh, and Panera. Definitely Panera. Once.

This was not a vacation. It was racing.  Both things are fun (except racing - which sucks), but I was only there to do one of them (racing - which sucks).  Vacations gets in the way of racing.

I think Rocky's coach (Mick) said it best when he yelled at Rocky "WOMEN WEAKEN LEGS!" He was talking about Adrian.  What a dick. But he has a point.

In this case, "Women" are distractions like say, "the world's largest ball of twine", and "legs" are well, literal legs. I guess they were in the movie too. Oh jeez, the whole thing was literal. Mickey was an idiot. But what if you took some of that twine and tied it around your legs? Great for learning balance, according to Mick.

Some valuable lessons I've learned so far this year:

At the Water Works Circuit race this year, I learned that there's no harm in bringing a roll of toilet paper with you.  Usually, when I get to a race, my nerves help me purge any excess ... uhh ... baggage.  If there's no toilet paper in the restroom, this can be unsettling.

At the Clear Lake races last weekend, I realized it would have been nice to have one of those "sleep mask" things.  I can sleep pretty well without a completely dark room, but the light coming in from outside at the dorms all night kept causing me to wake and think it was 6AM instead of the actual time (1:43, then 1:48, then 2:07 and so on).

I also learned after the road race that it wouldn't hurt to sharpie my name onto my water bottles.  I got them back, but it would have been easier if my name was on them after tossing them out at the feed zone.

Just little things that make life a tiny bit easier.

But these are just about preparation. Something clicked for me during the crit last Saturday that changed my whole outlook on racing. Most of the fear vanished.  There will always be some jitters, but I actually had fun while it was going on. That has literally never happened.

I used to know this auto mechanic back in the day.  He was a crusty old man. I think his name was "Mick"

Anyway, one time I was asking Mick if he thought I should get some different gearing on my car so it could jump off the line faster.  He yelled at me, "Kid. There's no replacement for displacement!"
 Then he took away my locker.

Sorry. That really didn't have anything to do with anything other than - There's no replacement for racing.  You have to do several of them, full on, stressed out so you can learn to keep cool in those situations. Well, I do anyway.

The clear lake omnium is like most of the others around here. Time Trial in the morning; Crit in the afternoon; Road Race the following morning.

I did the Time Trial in the morning and was happy with my performance.  Time Trialing is kind of the T-Ball of cycling.  Some kids have the power to hit the ball really, really far as long as it's not moving.

It takes a lot more skill and coordination to hit a ball thrown to you than if it's just hanging in the air.

Continuing with the analogy then, road racing would be more like slow pitch softball. You need some skills, but your power can still take you a long way.  Then crit racing would be kind of like trying to fend off a barrage of hand-grenades with a baseball bat.

All analogies break down at some point.

So for the time trial, I used my knowledge from FTP tests and guestimated an average power I thought I could hold for the distance.  I ended up doing exactly what I set out to do, so I have no complaints there.

The Clear Lake Bicycle, Blues, and BBQ criterium race is an excellent course. Scenic, fast and technical.  I was nervous, but less so than I've ever been before a race.  I'm just kind of getting used to the routine, which is nice.

I used to worry that I'd get dropped immediately or that I'd crash.

Then the race would start and I'd be at my limit right away and get stressed that I was going to get dropped.

I didn't know yet that people tend to go real hard at the start and then ease into a rhythm a bit later on. Knowing that takes away a lot of the panicky feeling.

So we were racing around and around. Since I wasn't thinking, "Oh crap, I'm on my limit," or "Oh crap, I'm going to crash," I was able to pay attention to what was actually going on in the race. What I saw came as quite a surprise.

I realized I suck as a bike rider.  I was hitting the brakes all the time.  I've never noticed that before because I was freaking out. I was trying to stay behind the people as they would kind of slow to set up for corners, I would also slow rather than keep my speed. Not because I needed to slow, but because I was trying to not cross their wheel in a corner. Then I came up with an even better idea. This is not new to anyone who races, I'm sure. Maybe it's even wrong, but I was comfortable with it. I started making a habit of getting at least slightly in front of whoever I was near in a turn.  This way I could actually accelerate and pick my line.  Much easier than hitting the brakes.

I also learned that I could shape my line to a certain degree.  If I just stayed calm and envisioned the path I wanted to take, the bike would go there. Very little conscious thought on my part.  This is not easy to do while thinking "Oh crap, I'm going to die."

After about 15 minutes of the crit, something was going on that has NEVER happened before. As I mentioned above, I was enjoying the race.

In the past, I have always been happy that I had done a race after the fact.  A feeling of pride at an accomplishment or some shit.

Now, I was a part of the race. Flowing with the group. Listening to the shouting and swearing, and just generally having a nice ride.

Then I crashed.

The lead group of (Just about everybody in the race) 25 people had just gone under the start/finish line with 7 laps to go. The announcement "No more free laps" was made.

Then there was turn, turn, turn, tu... crash!

Somehow, my rear wheel just slid out on a right hand turn.  I don't know how. Nobody got in my way. I just went down.  Nobody else did (not on that lap anyway).  As I was falling, I still believed I could save it, so my hands stayed on the bars.  I believe this minimized the injury to a couple of minor scrapes.

As everybody went safely around me, I was trying to dislodge my cleat from my spokes. I got back on the bike with a new goal. Finish without getting lapped or caught by dropped riders.

The adrenaline was keeping any pain at bay.  Other than the exact spot where I crashed, I was not nervous about taking the corners at full speed.  I worked pretty hard for those remaining 6 laps and finished 25th place.

I was disappointed that the crash happened, but happy that it wasn't too bad and that I now knew the answer to a question I've been afraid of for a while. Will I quit racing if I crash?

It was good that the crash happened after my revelations from the race.

On every race until this one, I am asking myself, why am I doing this?

During this race, I answered. "This is what I do."

I know it's corny, but it was a huge relief for me.

Another thing I realized in this race is that the category upgrade system is there for an excellent reason.

You can't (or shouldn't) just upgrade a rider because he is strong enough to hang with all the local 2/3s on the group ride. Shit, maybe he can even Time Trial faster than everyone in town. But you wouldn't sign Corky to the majors just because he can smack the shit out of a ball resting on a tee.

You have to actually race to learn how to race.  I think for most people these days who take their training seriously, strength is less a limiter than skill.  It is the skill I'm lacking. But I'm getting better.

I am not a fast learner. Before last weekend, I had heard many times that I should be racing Cat 3.  I understand the reasoning and believed it myself.

Now I realize there's no hurry.  I'll get there when I'm ready.

And I will kick ass.

Just kidding.  But really. Yeah.