Saturday, June 27, 2009

Riders Block

6 days 11 hours 16 minutes

Friday, June 26, 2009


Beauty is a treasure, but graciousness is priceless.
Without it nothing is possible; with it, one can do anything.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

If You Can't Beat 'em, Cheat 'em

Perception is reality. I heard this over and over, like a reminder, a discovery, an Effingham nuisance. While I appreciate the concept, I did not spend four emotionally exhausting hours in therapy expunging that imaginary box just to jump back in.

Perception affects the outcome of reality, but only reality IS reality. RAAM is reality on steroids. The behaviors you are accustomed to controlling seep out in semi-consciousness. Biker beware.

Case in point. The Surfer Boys were all set to win at well over 20mph. And although it may appear that east of Ole Miss AW4F was well ahead of TSH, this was not reality, or was it? What exactly IS real? Please define ‘is’.

Illinois, Ohio, WVA, Annapolis Maryland. Ahead, in front, beating, first. And yet behind. Not making sense? Now, you’re following. Here’s the scoop, or my best attempt at it.

Back in maybe Illinois ( I can’t be sure the stats indicate no deviation), rumor has it the Surfer boys got aggressive and ran into TSH’s van. TSH stayed to fill out an accident report for breaking another rider’s ankle, how sweet. To the best of my knowledge nothing was filed about breaking anyone’s pride.

It appears, and tends to reason, their rider rode on. THE STATS INDICATE NO DEVIATION. The Surfer boys, collecting their surf boards and road tattered egos, ditched the bikes and abandoned their Gucci tour bus (if we had only known).

They may have fared well in Chillicothe where the streets became rivers. The expert parking of one skilled Arvee driver put AW4F under protection at a closed gas station and beside a 24 hour joint(I get that now). Where again, we ran into TSH and found out the truth about the rumored ran over cyclist.

Somewhere around this point one TSH rider came to one AW4F rider and explained the position of our teams. “We are in different divisions, how ‘bout letting us go ahead of you?”

“Yeah, no, we are not interested in functioning like that,” said the competitive German.

Lo and behold just before Maryland we learned of an interesting development. TSH was awarded a 50 minute credit. For hitting another rider? It appears to be true, our perceptuous bubble poppeth.

And although it also appears to be true that we crossed the finish line afore them, perception is indeed NOT reality. Hit a Rider, Get a Credit. On what page was that rule again?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I have never been a fan of Mini Driver. I am a Nancy Naysayer. I love me some JPS; GPS, don't get me started.

Color me O.L.D. Give me some good old fashioned Migratory Accordion Paperwork. That's MAP for you young textual acronymphs. Origami for the cartographically challenged.

Yeah, Nancy and I had a love/hate relationship. She hated when I got off route, and I loved to tell HER where to go.

"Arrive at destination" was more of a loose interpretation. Once, twice, three times Lady, I sat bolt upright from a deep nap, looked out the windshield, and proclaimed, "THIS ISN'T THE TIME STATION! It's 3 miles down the road at a Go Mart on the right." Chew on that Nagging Nancy.

There were countless recalculating pauses along the roadside, the broken computer screen, a lost route book. Hath no fear; GPS is no match for our Sleepigator. She, too, will make an appearance before race end.

More than one driver forgot the correct usage of U.S. Joe Road Sign. "Stay on 54" does not mean "Go straight 54 miles". My bad, I should have been more specific.

How 'bout the time I heard "right down the road" and awoke to a hokey pokey sensation, no store in sight? The blind leading the blind out, trusting no more than a vertigo stricken Nancy? "Turn right in .4 mile. Turn left in .2 mile. Please proceed to the highlighted route." The subsequent game of Fuck, Fuck, Truce?

"Did anyone get that on film?" As the vehicles and riders swarmed Time Station 23 like clowns in tiny cars, team CBS scribe struggled to keep up. "Could you repeat that for the script?" And they say this stuff doesn't write itself.

This could very well be the next Great Amazing GrrrRace. Part Survivor, part Big Brother, part Abbott and Costello.

Who's at the time station first?
What? Wait a second.
I don't know, where's TS23?

Could I please vote someone out of Arvee?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Honest Arvee Engine

Have I mentioned RAAM makes you stupid?

We were starting to run into soloists. Phew, they looked rough. Braces to hold up their necks, but what about their brains? That's what the crew is for.

Hope that's not true of the teams. Here we were, a group of eleven, stacked in the Arvee like sardines doing 360s in the parking lot of the Schnucks. The 24 Hour Super Center.

"I wonder if it's open?"
"It doesn't look open."
"Where are you going?" said the girl to the Jiminator.
"?" his reply.
"There, at the Super Center; we should see if it's really closed."
"It looks closed."
"Maybe it's open."
"Do you see a sign?"

Eleven people like sardines in an Arvee lapping the parking lot like it's a NASCAR track unable to discern if the 24 Hour store is in fact open.

Yeah, she sees a sign... 24 HOUR SUPER CENTER "24 Hour. What do you think that means?"

"I think it's open 24 Hours," concludes the crew.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Or You Might Be On RAAM

You might be a redneck if you've....
1. Washed laundry in a Walmart bathroom
2. Dried clothes from a wheel mount bike rack
3. Washed dishes on a parking lot curb
4. Lived in an undersized apartment on wheels
5. Used overturned shopping carts as lounge chairs
6. Washed your hair in a gas station sink
7. Invited others to see the nicest restroom you've ever peed in
8. Used a bike rack tie as a hair band
9. Drawn a Walmart and Arvee on a postcard for accuracy
10. Bathed in a capitol fountain

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Third Law of Emotion

A black hole occurs when a star collapses, or so the theory goes. I think it’s not being able to support themselves against gravity and holes in the black asphalt or something like that, I’m not an astrophysicist. It’s definitely about stars exhausting fuel. And I know this: a nonrotating collapsed star cannot survive RAAM especially without fuel.

Here’s a thought, if you could just perpetually heed the schedule our stars will not collapse. One bottle Perpetuem. One bottle Heed. You need not test it on your wrist. Powder, water, shake.

It seems as easy as following the white line. There’s a schedule. It’s typed. It’s color coated. It’s posted everywhere. If I could tattoo it inside your eyelids I would, that way I know you’d see it. It’s as easy as following the trite sign.


Sir, I…one, two, three, four…AM counting to 10, but this new ton of irritation is distracting me. Besides it’s not working and neither are you. Might we put aside these lessons in math and science and get back to RAAM?

Yo, Einstein, help me help you. When you don’t do your job, I can’t do my job. Here’s one for your analytical mind, a snowball formed in the desert and it will roll uphill.

If force A lays around doing nothing and force B picks up the slack, at what time will the two forces collide? Can you say day three??

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ready, Set, Glow

Follow the white line. What's so hard about that? Simply put, that is our strategy, oh, and never, never stop pedaling. There is no coasting in RAAM.

Unless you need to adjust. And you WILL need to adjust. There is rearranging in RAAM. RAAM gives moleskin a new place to rest. And the chicken dance takes on a whole new meaning.

But RAAM also makes you stupid. The white line is a great guide, but it moves. Thoughts dance, curbs jump, addition becomes physics. Think often. Think early. Take notes. Follow the white line. Make a schedule. Plan the alternatives. Rinse, cycle, repeat.

Sand Box Derby is not a place to be lost. It's just you and the white line for miles and miles and miles. Beneath the glow of the milky way, at the base of looming dunes, taillights offer no uniquity. Your cyclist looks exactly like the 50 other cyclists along the same stretch of bland, sandy road, if you even see them.

Our ingenious multicolored accessories, a complete bust. Dwarfed amid the immensity of the night. Ahha. The race was young. We were still smart. We could think beyond the white line. Our radios and odometers replaced the glow necklaces with even more accuracy and we were found.

But there will be the day when we lose calm, clear headed Denise. I thought it impossible. C'est possible. The sun is shining; the clock screaming, Good Morning. We walk around in a haze.

Denise hesitates and stares. We stare back. "Are we in nighttime riding," she asks. I'm not sure I understand the question. Janna steps up, "It's 930 Sweetie." "So, will there be nighttime riding this leg?" she asks again, clutching her light. No, no, I think the high desert sun will work just fine.

Friday, June 19, 2009

In One Peace

It’s like when you were 10 and you had a date with a rollercoaster first thing in the morning. More on the anxiety side of that however. I don’t want to sleep. I don’t want to wait. Let’s just get 'er done.

My effort to be sent home was foiled. I didn’t even know it would be a possibility. But there is a plane ticket with my name on it. Someone was getting on a plane hell or high water.

Yes, Mr. Murphy I deserve that 2 in courtesy and tact. In fact, can an evaluation contain a ¼? I call it honest; I don’t have time for tact.

There was confrontation, there were accusations, there was an episode of turrets. I spoke my mind, then didn’t speak at all. How would I survive this week?

Here we were in sunny California, on the beach, beer in hand, showered, fed, well rested and we had issues? Oh good god! I can only image how we will handle each other in three days.

Please send me home. I cannot do this. I am not a leader. I do not take charge. I am not respected. People do not listen to me. I don’t want to learn anymore. I want to go home and hide in my sheets.

I don’t want to fail this team. I don’t want to let Denise down. I don’t want to call jk in tears of frustration and failure. I don’t want to lose my cool. I don’t want to get in Arvee with that person.

Three, two, one, Focus. No one has to like you. You just have to get them across the country and through day three. In one piece. GO.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Today my knee is a little sore. My hips have been tight for days. I can't sleep past 6 and I spend the evenings playing cards.

My younger cohort took me to a punk club at which I was questionably the oldest. I never complained about the 'noise' they call music or the decibel the deem acceptable.

He announced, the bartender was older. Datable, but debatable. And the help doesn't count. Perhaps bartending in a punk club is just hard on a body anyway.

I met up with an old school buddy for a drink. We realized we hadn't seen each other in 25 years; I was half that age the last time I saw him.

Well, this has been fun. I think I'll move on to hang out with some twentysomethings. Sleep for fifty minute shots in chairs and on concrete. If I'm not feeling old now, give me a week.

Monday, June 15, 2009

No Aping Around

"They look just like us." Really?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Race Is On

Believe it or not, it was my first solo flight. I had no idea we were going to reenact The Amazing Race.

We touched down in adequate time after an unacceptable delay on the other end. But as I stared at the airport map planning my attack I tried not to notice the minutes ticking away.

Gates away, terminals to go, and I might never get to deplane. The families, the lolligaggers, the carry on luggage...

Carry on luggage that defies the name. There's lazy and there's necessity. If the luggage has to travel on wheels.... *however, comma, pause* technically if the luggage arrives on wheels no matter, it ain't carry on luggage.

Again, if you have to wedge your bag sideways to negotiate the Metro turn style, it might not be carry on luggage. I'm just saying.

As my feet hit the airport, my bag hit my back. On wheels would have NEVER made it. It was a sprint to the finish line and I made the cut. I would be advancing to the second round.

I missed my layover entirely, but at least I made my flight.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Digital Conversion

TV never looked so good.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Black, Ride Fleas

Why do you do this? Well now that's one I'm not sure I can answer. I am lacking that competitive gene, I have no desire to pedal the countryside, and you are right, I do hate me a car.

But you cannot deny powering yourself across the country is nothing short of amazing. Birds do it. Bees do it. No Ella, educated fleas do not do it, they hop on board for a parasitic ride.

Imagine soaring across the floor of Utah's Monument Valley, beneath the shadow of California's sand dunes, even through the vast nothingness of New Mexico/Kansas/Oklahoma, man that stretch goes on forever. Just you and the wind and the setting or rising sun: INCREDIBLE.

But that's not for me, not this time. I would rather lend a hand to help another rider reach his/her potential. Oh good god, cue Bette Midler.

I would rather write the songs, light the stage, open the mics, not star center stage. I am much happier hiding in the wings (oh, not again).

I will learn a lot about other people and even more about myself. I can't think of a better vacation. I love just watching life unfold and I can't think of a better place to pull up a chair.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


But when do you sleep? That is the million dollar question. And I'd probably pay a million dollars for a solid three hour nap right around Pratt, Kansas.

But then I'd miss the free McDonald's food. And mid-country on no sleep that is equivalent to a big juicy filet mignon. Okay, no, it's really still just McDonald's; I'm never THAT out of it. Besides there's home cooked food waiting for us in Camdenton, Misery (formerly known as Missouri). And showers in F-ingham Illinois.

Back to the sleeping. Well, first of all you get real comfy with your new family. You'll be spooning someone you didn't know six months ago. Less than six months? I know! I practiced during training.

I'm not sure I knew Phoenix six hours, but the concrete slab in WVA sure was cold. I warmed up to the idea of sharing my blanket right quick.

So this compartment I'm in here is "no room at the inn" during RAAM. And there's four beds, but nine people.

And I'm picky; I won't lie down next to any old body even when I'm sleepy as hell. So there's that.

Ask anyone, I'm an outdoorsy type. Sporty funky I've been labeled. Oh, I'll be funky alright. Did I mention the shower is full of supplies and off limits? Yeah. CP never did wrap her mind around that one.

My point, and I do have one, is I like to sleep outside. I don't care where. On the concrete. Under a sign. Over the asphalt. I do not mind green grass on the lam. I cannot mind, RAAM I am.

And I shower when I can. In a pool. In a yard. In a gas station sink. Shower here. Shower there. Oh hell, I'd shower anywhere. RAAM I am.

Monday, June 8, 2009

RAAM 2009

Race Across America is a 3,000 mile bicycle race from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland. It is America’s Tour de France. It is the World’s Toughest Bicycle Race.

In fact the Tour is a total of 3500 kilometers completed over the course of three weeks. In comparison, RAAM is 4827 kilometers raced over a period of ten days. That’s 825 miles more in half as many days. Just to give you an idea of what is going on here.

RAAM 2009 will welcome 4 2-person teams, 18 4-person teams, and 8 8-person teams. Twenty-eight people will attempt this race SOLO.

This isn’t a Tour of America. It is an all out competitive race. Until the packs spread out over the first twenty four hours it will be intense cutthroat competition.

We are looking to cross that finish line in seven days. That’s an average of 18mph, 29km for Gernot. 24 hours a day for seven days, across the Rockies and the unforgiving beasts of West Virginia. Rain, shine, storm, and night. Pedal, pedal, pedal.

We’re in it to win it. We might deny it, but you keep your eyes on All Wheels 4 Fibromyalgia. There will be no praying in RAAM. Maybe quietly, on your bicycle, crossing the Rockies…but no off the bike, kneeling kind of prayer. Not this year.

What does it take? A good sponsor, thank you Pfizer. A cause, Fibromyalgia. Riders with heart: Denise, Karl, Gernot, and Dave. And one hell of a support team: Brenda, Deb, Harry, Richard, Jim, Yvette, Connie, Janna, Scott, Andrew, Richie, Julian, and Mike on muscles.

Denise: please try to look at more than just the white line! Oh, it's ON.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


M.R. Not
M.R. Not-
M.R. QTs

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cheesy On The Outside

You shouldn’t text and drive. Or phone and ride. Or enter a garage on a bicycle while consulting your cell. It’s a mobile phone, yes, but not that kind of mobile.

Oh, it was a mobile all right. Emphasis on the –bēl. Mary Todd spun around like Winnie Pooh Bear above a baby’s crib and I sprung off like Tigger. That’s what Tiggers do besssst.

I put my hand in. Took my hand out. Jumped off my bike and shook it all about. Oh, I turned myself around. Despite popular belief, this is NOT what it’s all about.

I might be a fool, but I’m sprightly. Not so much graceful, but they didn’t call me Swifty for nothing. And rumor has it the, I like the Sprite in you jingle was written for Yours Very much.

So to recap the recipe in case you want to DYI the cycling mobile:

1 multi linked chain swagged generously
2 bull horns
1 bicycle package (this includes one cyclist, drained)
1 diced cell phone
2 messages (I like to use one voice mail from across the globe and one text for flavor)
¼ tsp pepper
Salt to taste

Combine the above ingredients in a parking garage and blend. Fold in gravity. Top with cheese. Serves two.

It wasn’t good; it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t pretty, but it sure was funny. Ride like a fool/mess with a bull (six of one)…you get the horns.