Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Silver Dance


Like the curling smoke of a filter-less cigarette
held askew in a loose and contemplative hand,
I embrace this Silver Dance again.
Letting go, becoming smaller and smaller.

How many times face down on my bed,
into this half lit workshop,
assimilating disarray through the haze.
My temple of regeneration,
claiming the music and power that is no regret.

Remind me again Blowers Daughter
why I’m dangerous?

Is it because I can see the rain in a rainbow?

Or because I refuse mindless emulation
as the face of happiness?

Is it my next poem, dark tattoo,
or my Jack London night that scare you?

Bone cold and bare,
the collision of car with an innocuous oak.
Laid out broken on blood stained snow,
my diminishing vapors rising above me
through the naked branches
 in a Silver Dance
into a black vacuum of space beyond.

Before letting go completely the universe voiced
‘There are things worse than death.
Choose life and journey with meaning’

A photon gift, years in the making,
 under the harshest of terms,
taught me that patience and stillness 
penetrate the dread and blackness.

That breath of blissful living 
is whispered in a Silver Dance, 
moving in silence through cherry blossoms 
of the mind and passionate heart.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Odyssey



Another winter loomed large in the mountainous land of his muse, along the black shores of sand and cold saltwater.

The Elk had been there five years without her, sustained by solitude, fermented pomegranates and harshness, compelled by his omissions to stay, mulling through the void inside him, yet knowing one day he would need to leave, or degrade into bliss-less irrelevance wrestling with the only thing left for him there, the Cyclopes in his own mind.

As a wounded warrior might, the Stag stayed as long as it took to glean any inspiration to be found. And he wrung through every dread pumping through his veins until he did. Only then could he leave, resolved, with these things tattooed into his antlers, forged by the experience and living above it.

Five years after arriving in the land of the alluring creature, any regrets large enough to hold the Stag from leaving were gone. The distress was tamed and behind him now, and the sanctification rectifying him was complete. It was time to go.

He pondered this for weeks letting it settle and become a part of that which defined him. Then he collected his thoughts into his lungs, flared his nostrils and expelled them into the mist, intently knowing she would receive his message carried by the wind.

Then he stood at the waters edge like a thousand times before, contemplating the love, the broken places, the mending and the rebuilding.  But this time he no longer searched for a chart to guild his direction back across the sea, for the veil of despondency had dissipated almost too suddenly, And he reclaimed voices from far within speaking to the power and levity in his gait, able to take him anywhere he wanted.

The home of his past was gone, but the Stag wasn't headed there and this pleased him. He would embraced the solo voyage to different horizons and would triumph-over the cold and deep, choppy and fierce. And he would have it no other way, for by this time his bones were girted for this kind of journey.

And so on a drizzly cold afternoon he left the mountainous land of his muse along the shores of black sand and cold saltwater.  Calmly walking across the sand, he turned and studied the footprints he left, deep imprints of the past he would carry with him forever.  Then he moved through dense air and waded into the sea deliberately, antlers bold and high, like a matador into the bullfighting ring poised to challenge every next day.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Marauder passage


A small island with stone lined meadows on a harbor.
Dappled adrenaline through shadows on a child’s swing.
A chestnut colored horse named Rufus.
Ladybugs in Cornwall sunbathing on tall tulips.
Badger tracks in the snow.

These were the boy's gravity.
Her voice and the chimes around her wrist, his oxygen.

Hope exiled in this lovely place,
Beat down in a shimmer-less youth.

Iron-rod beds, in clammy rows of three.
Rusted and chipped even at night.
Unfamiliar coughs and little cries.
His strength was diminishing,
Suffocating behind walls, impossibly high,
Where wolves cower and mothers suffer terribly.

Peel back every pain with deliberation,
Mix tossed bathwater into his mortar,
Then hold up high the cup of guilt,
and strike and strike, again and again
until he takes the blame.

A mud trench is a place of solace to
Bow over any sublime chalice of delicious drudgery,
And slay it all in the grail of high drunks,
To mull through the ashes of every London bridge.
And observe untested persons,
Neutered by greed’s morality,
Flitting about in vain satisfaction,
Feasting on the bovine’s back,
Selling sanctimony and snake oil
Like hyenas in a hen house.

His mind was a cacophony of inequities,
Distanced, dark and jaded,
Haunted by unfinished goodbyes long after sobriety's collision,
Knowing that the honor of 'bad' men
Destroys far less than the lies of 'good' ones,
Who spew wreckage and deception in overture,
More pleasantly than Handel's Julius Caesar.

Where are dawn and dusk,
When despondency smothers intention?
What mends torn flesh and blood?
What preserves scarred-humanness a whole creature,
Flawed and inspired?



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sweet Beatles man



Monday mornings I ride the MBTA Commuter Rail into Cambridge for a course I'm taking. The class starts at 9:00am and goes til 10:30am, which is convenient, but the way home is always hurried because if I miss the 11:10 back to Concord I have to wait 'til 2:00 for the next one. The class is about two miles from the station in Porter Square, so to make it back there in time is tight.  This past Monday I was more hurried than usual because class went overtime by several minutes; But I figured if I didn't dabble I could still make it.

After walking briskly for 25 minutes I passed Peets Coffee across the street from the station and knew I was okay on time. Peeking through the window I noticed only two people at the counter so I dashed in for a cup of java. 

Once inside I noticed one of the two at the counter was a guy with down’s syndrome. He was a short fellow, broad and thick, wearing a nearly new Beatles t-shirt.  He had non-resplendent cropped hair, harkening barber shop styles of old or attempts to cut it himself at home and he was wearing very thick eye glasses. He appeared to be about my age and relied on his mother to place their order and help him count the change, which I observed they carried out together with the same attention and pleasure one has when opening birthday cards.

Finished at the counter they moved to a booth a few feet from the condiments buffet. After getting my coffee I proceeded to the buffet for milk and sugar and noticed the fellow looking directly at me through the binocular lenses sitting slightly askew upon his smallish affable face.

This affected me and I had an impulse to approach him.  But with only a few minutes before the train I fought it back. And like a thousand times before I proceeded with ninja skill to speedily affix the stiff plastic cover of my coffee unit, with it's sharp rim, over top the more pliable yet sturdy enough Styrofoam cup without spilling a single drop when something stirred inside and made me pause and I thought 'fuck it, I should talk to this guy' and so I walked over. 

"Hey there." I said, as congenial and familiar as possible.

"Hhhi." He deliberated back in a low voice, raising his eye brows high above his glasses while lowly waving his tubby hand.

"That's a cool shirt, man." I said with more resonance."You like the Beatles?"

"Uuh, yaah, I like vem!" He replied quicker, sliding a smile.

"Who's your favorite one in the band?" I asked, trying hard to be as descriptive and gentle as possible. 
 
"I like Paul McCaraahney" He replied with no apprehension and nearly perfect diction.

"Ah I see you, but know what man, to me it's all about George Harrison" Nodding my head  up and down in large slow movements.

"Yaah, George Harrison too!" He said with timber and an ease that years of friendship can bring. 

"Well that's so cool man!" I said, slinging my pack over a shoulder.  "Hey I gotta make the train now. You have a real nice day, okay?"

"Okay" He affirmed with some sadness "You ave a nigh day choo." a touch of pity in his voice.

As I left Peets and walked over the crosswalk on Mass Ave with its wide paneled lines I imagined the Beatles; Paul, John, George and Ringo on their iconic Abby Road cover walking in line together over the crosswalk to their London studio and was affected at this simple unfolding to a happy and uncomplicated place. What brilliance from a lovely guy adding more texture and light to the day. Thank you, sweet Beatle's man. I know who you are.   The innocent are the finest.  I made the train.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Yes a thousand times.


I have something to ask you?
Can we dance to that song once together? 

Yes, later when the clouds go away,

I have something to tell you.
I miss you and have certain dreams of you. 

What was I then, 
to you, in your dreams? 

You were the ember in the corner place, 
hidden from all of it,
The gentle crackle 
I hear lingering in my slumber.

But summer ended long ago,
what about now?
Do you still miss me
linking your moments? 
 
Yes, you are my Autumn's veil
of kaleidoscope color
soothing the unforgiving pieces. 

Did I consume you
with slow movements 
and Intent ion?
Is this what you drempt?

Yes, I breath you into my bones, 
 and clutch your broken heart in my hands.
I see my face reflecting in your eyes
and I wake weeping the lines 
of your name.

Do you see yourself,  
set apart from the others,
light and strong?  

Yes, in the silence
where you own me, I see it.

Can you hold on?

Yes, you were courage that stood up 
when you were not wrong.

Do I fill you? 

Yes, A thousand times, yes. 



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Wabi Sabi, broken is beautiful



Naked and assured the alluring diminutive creature was entering the middle of her life and she knew her life, in the land along the ocean shore as well as she knew the beating of her own heart, for she herself had very practically and neatly crafted it years before when she was a young child.  

But that all changed when the Stag, she had only ever imagined, appeared before her. He was standing motionless and alone just a few feet ahead of her, intently watching her every move from behind the tall grass along the edge of the shoreline.

Drawing by Julie Levitina, Philadelphia, PA
He was not a young Stag nor was he old but he was magnificent and mysterious and she could not help but be pulled into him.  His stature was rugged and strong and billowing mist flared from the nostrils on his handsome angular face as she gazed at him.

He had the look of a warrior in expression belying gentle eye's of a slate dreamlike quality.  He had deep lined scares along his muscular and seasoned frame telling authentic tales of his life and land in the green hills of his home very far and different from her country of saltwater and sand.  

And she knew he was cunning to have survived so far a journey, encountering certain perils and sacrifice just to find her, his muse, across such a vast and hostile distance with nothing in it for himself, but all, just to find her.

He was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.  It made her shake to think of it and she felt she needed to cry.  She knew she would weep horribly.

The Stag gazed upon the lovely petite figure before him, her golden skin whispered to him like a tuscan seduction.  Her shinny black hair was thick and danced about in the wind like a dragonfly.  She had delicate rose bud lips around a warm smile and had elegant thin arms with dainty warm hands that she would soon use on him. 

She was nothing he had seen or known before, but he had imagined her and recognized he needed her. And he could not help but be pulled into her and was mesmerized by her slow yet deliberate movement toward him, treading as lightly as possible on the sand so as not to leave footprints. 

When her bare body got close enough the Stag felt her touch into his flank and he lowered himself in order that the soul mate he'd longed for, now beside him, might press all of herself upon him.  And then she pressed upon him.  She pressed upon him for hours, and for days and days, and weeks, for months and months and years. 

Together in this vignette they found what they had to find.  But then rain came suddenly and she felt she had loved him for a thousand years and would yield everything to be his one and only, if ...or until she couldn't anymore.  And it would surely kill the soulful piece inside her to go so far away and leave the love of her life, and feel the sickness of longing for shoulders she can't hold, ribs she can't touch, lips who's smile she can't see, with his hips unable reach and press against hers, or warm breath she could no longer whisper with,or inhale. And she would no longer feel his beating heart against hers or hear the heat of his soothing voice in her ear, or taste his gentle sweat dripping upon her face.
 
And the Stag, he would go to his knee's to hold on and protect her even after she left, until he couldn't anymore.  She was his life's love, his musing obsession and his inspiration and he died to what they were, and what he was, in order to carry on and be made more beautiful.

In this sea of love and loving, sweet and luscious, intimacy was the greatest loss.  It was intoxicating.


Peace and roll strong.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Crossing lines

 
What if the collateral lines around the ails and consequence of continuous pain were clear to us before ordinary life becomes a draining trial of pain management, straining not to loose sight of the meaningful, muddled in a pattern of temporary self soothing distraction and escape.

On Friday my physical therapist and I were talking about the effects years of chronic pain have on people.  I had my thoughts around this but my therapist has been providing PT for more than 20 years and confirmed them. She said 90% of her patients in chronic pain admit to struggling with acute and often debilitating depression and added the remaining 10% that don't admit to it are lairs.

I don't think this is related to physical pain alone. The same is true for emotional pain, probably even more so. What starts as a few threaded inclinations to manage despondent frustration or gnashing physical pain, in time become a dark and wearing cord affecting all areas of life. The pain blurs our focus as we seek an island of relief often influencing us to cross lines we otherwise wouldn't.

 Escape in Hong Kong
I'm guessing it's nearly impossible to know what to expect when the horizon of life becomes clouded in pain and despondency.  We're under-prepared  for its effect on our wellness, our judgement, our relationships and our businesses. The suffering becomes a haze that we simply try to get through in the best way we can but in the end do whatever is needed to get to the other side.  And then we must live with the often damaging consequences of our decisions and our omissions and we must accept the responsibility for them; And then too we learn from them or have them destroy us.  

Not everyone survives but for the majority that do these experiences often forge intriguing people of interest, tattooed with authentic markings that compel us to pause.  These are the courageous ones, reluctantly so to be fair, but regardless become the best of us and they draw us in. They're attune to trials of survival and become a texture for others to feel, rescuers from the emptiness of believing we are nothing more than a number in a herd of mundane travelers.  People, wounded and scarred are the most beautiful so please stop parading a so called perfect life.  If it ever existed it's not that interesting. Show where your battered and brave soul has been.  Aspire to be better.              

Peace and roll strong.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ride

 
What is it that makes us decide what we become?  The more I think about this the more I think we allow ourselves about as much contentment as we think we deserve. That's saying something I guess, given the affects our set of experience and upbringing has on this.

My head spins around this sometimes but it doesn't help. I land on the same reality every time; the reality that whats done is done and you don't get over it, you just live with it and it lives through you.  Hopefully it brands us with a character goodness but this is not always the case.  Too often the affects make us act and become the very thing we feared we would be.  I guess recognizing this a a good place to affirm there's an opportunity to allow events; good and bad, to mold positive or negative individual traits.  We decide which they will be.

To be thankful and content is to decide to be as such, but it's easier for some people than others, I think, but maybe not. Either way its tiring to worry about it and feeling like you're going bloody crazy. I usually work through this stuff when I ride.  I ride, just ride, thankful and content and it gets me there, into a sweet nothingness.

Peace & roll strong.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Five


December 9, 2007 was five months after winning a third cycling National Championship (July 08, 07) and I was on an operating table having reconstruction surgery to a badly fractured right hip.  The injury and operation were extensive and changed my life.  There's a diagonal hockey stick scar running 18 inches from the top of my glutenous across the outside of my hip and down my thigh giving evidence to the eight screws (2.5 inches long) and twelve inch plate secured into my pelvis that were used to put me back together

My surgeon at the time said it would be hard to predict overall recovery and cautioned with certainty that the post operative condition would lead to accelerated and significant arthritis.  He was right. From day one it's never felt right and I've been in various degrees of acute pain this entire time.  But this past year the arthritis and pain have increased sharply.  On a scale of 1-10 I'd give it a 5/6 during most of the day, 7/8 at night and a 9/10 when initially standing and the first few steps.  It's a real challenge. The pain saps my mental focus and it's physically exhausting all at the same time.

Considering everything, I've done pretty well keeping strong and managing pain. With some limitations I've still been able live a normal active life and race my bike hard enough but now its at a point where the joint is done, there's nothing left.  A recent MRI showed the joint looking more like a broccoli stalk embedded into mashed potatoes than proper ball and socket joint. So I'm getting a total hip replacement in a few weeks: Dec 09 to be precise.  Ironically this is five years to the day of my operation in 2007, or perhaps not that ironic.  My life seems often to be unintentionally threaded with linear numeric synergy. 

Prognosis for the operation is good.  If all goes well I should come out of this in much better condition and comfort than what has become the norm for me these past five years. I can't help but hope putting me back together this time will; in this way, change life for the better.  


Peace and roll strong!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Honeybee


You didn't have to look my way
Your eyes still haunt me to this day
But you did. Yes, you did

You didn't have to say my name
Ignite my circuits and start a flame
But you did.  Yes, you did
 You didn't have to smile at me
Your grin's the sweetest that I've ever seen
But you did. Yes, you did

You didn't have to offer your hand
Cause since I've kissed it I am at your command
But you did.  Yes, you did
Hello Goodbye, Twas nice to know you
How I find myself without you
That I'll never know

I let myself go!


 So it pays forward, man.  That  is all.

State Championship Aug. 03, 2013


Peace & Roll Strong.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Lone Elm Farm

 

Not so long ago a sturdy man of epic proportions said 'Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong'.  When I was fouteen my parents bought a farm in Belfast Maine.  They loved Maine.  My step mother Maria loved it especially.  We'd been to Maine a couple of times before but I was surprised and troubled when they bought a place there. 

To the right sort of person a farm in Maine could sound idyllic but to an restless adolescent, content enough, maybe even happy, and musingly accustomed in the pleasantries of Great Falls,Virginia, such as myself, the reality of moving to a farm 700 hundred miles away in central Maine sounded like a thousand miles of bad road. The farm had a name, 'The Lone Elm'.

The farm sat proudly atop a hill on 50 acres of hay field.  It was beautiful and I despised  it.

Once moved in the first order of business was painting the place. No easy task. The barn was connected to the house and the shear volume of the structure was larger than a small condo complex.  My dad hired two professional painters to help our family do the job.  All in we were seven workers and it still took 10 days to finish.

A lifetime later I still think of those 10 days.... painting away in my solitary corner of the Lone Elm.  Minutes felt like hours and days were like years at the time.  The Tom Sawyer in me wanted to finish the job rapidly but the Huck Finn was a-lone to contemplation.  My head spinning, thoughts shaving everything away I held too dear, abandonment I didn't deserve.  I shaved it all down, man, over and over.  I counted and recounted every loss in mantra to take me to a white washed realm that at the time I thought was anger but I was wrong.  Yeah, I missed Virginia terribly and I hated the happy transcendentalism this experience appeared to give my parents and siblings.  But you know what,  in retrospect I think I got the most from it.  You see, time spent in solitude taught me things.  I wish I were a better student but I think riding bikes is a lot like painting the Lone Elm and I've had a rich lifetime of rides doing it.

The picture above was a late afternoon shot taken the day we finished painting the Lone Elm. We're cleaned up and showered, just getting ready for a cookout.  Looking at it now, the texture and feelings in that moment are a lot like those after a long hard ride.

The first time I saw this picture, a short time later, I barely recognized myself.   My appearance looked eerily changed, older, nothing boyish at all left and I felt very differently as well.

That sturdy man knew what he was saying.

-Peace and roll strong

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Atonement

What if she hadn't answered so quickly, assuredly and recklessly?  What if, instead, she had been complete enough to cast aside what she knew couldn't be the truth and not succumb to the lie anyway because it provided her the false allowance that in some way she was acting responsibly.


Briony Tallis was the 13 year girl in the movie 'Atonement'.  I love movies and I watched Atonement again the other night.  The crux of the movie is Briony's confused emotions around her love for her older sister's boyfriend and witnessing them making love.  In this scene Briony sculks about in the shadows of their massive old house and comes across them in library doing the act and confessing their love for one another.  Its the best scene in the movie.  The disgust and jealousy rising within Briony is visceral.  And it is the combination of her disgust and jealousy that ultimately lead to not just the destruction of her sister and lover but also condemns Briony herself to a life of regret and sorrow.

Movies are good at showing us a lifetime of  loss contracted into 90 minutes but real life doesn't do it like that.  Its darker and deeper and a whole lot slower.  Things like this seem manageable even innocuous sometimes, when they happen;...... so long as we believe that truth is for lazy people and that lies are for the ambitious.  Think about it. 

Briony, with her oh so proper wealth, breeding and education knew she lied horribley and she knew that she convinced herself to believe and follow that lie and she hated herself for it.  Her pain and jealousy destroyed everyone in her path.  The weird thing is that I understand how she got there and why she did it and I never hated her.  In the end she makes it right and I love(d) her for that.  Love conquers all, again.  What a trip.

Speaking of  'Trippy', a friend on FB shared a link to some cool bike art.  This one was way cool.  It's under an overpass in Cali somewhere.

I took a bike trip last weekend/ 148 mile Harpoon B2B ride.  It was windy and I took my time riding along at 16 mph with a lot of really good people. 

No lunacy whatsoever this year but I thought of lm.  I think the ride took me two hours longer to finish this year and I might have actually gained a lbs or two.  Thanks Dean Phillip's for the most excellent call on Harpoon Growlers.      Peace and roll strong!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tame Thoughts

Time keeps rolling along and I haven't blogged in a while.  I've missed it.  I like to write and like going back to read my own stuff too.  Clearly I'm no one's writer or anything. I spell like a fifth grader and just plaster it out there but I still enjoy putting pen to paper.  It gets stuff outta my head and I guess in most ways that's why jughead51 is more like a diary than editorial. 


I had a lot on my mind last night too, that's for sure.  But from time to time who doesn't, right?  We all deal with things and we deal with them in our own way.  At 2:00 am last night I was wide awake soothing off an anxiety attack and it sucked.  As a kid and throughout my adult life I've had panic attacks.  I still get them once in a while but not so often and I was thinking today about last night.  I mean, what the heck?  What causes this? That's rhetorical btw I know what the causes are but knowing them makes it no easier to go through.  It's still super unsettling and exhausting.

Purgatory RR, Sutton, MA.






















The older I get the more people I meet with similar stuff.  I guess the stigmas around this are fading quickly and that's really cool.  Nothing's worse than feeling like the only person on the planet with a panic attack when its happening to you.

Riding, music and authentic self expression all help me to work through the things that tend to build the anxiety.   I can't really explain all of that but I know when I'm actively doing it and when I'm not and I think most other people do too. 

There are plenty of other ways to get yourself balanced.  One of the calmest spaces for me is right in the middle of a bike race.  It's certainly not the only reason I race but it's definitely another healthy reason to do it.  Racing is demanding and channeling.  It eliminates pretty much everything from your mind other than the action and kinetics right in front of you.  Not to be cliche but its very zen like. .

Over time I've also come to understand that it's also just a matter of accepting ones own personal chemistry and dealing with it.  Be self altruistic. Take care of yourself.  It'll calm you down and tame your thoughts.

Peace and roll strong.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bikes not bombs

Last week was pretty messed up around here in Boston.  It all began of course on Monday the 15th with the bombings at the finishing area of the Boston Marathon on Boylston Street in Copley Square killing 3 people and wounding 140 others.  Fortunately I wasn't anywhere near this when it went down but I was there last year to watch the race and I use to work in Copley Square for a few years so I know the area really well.


Friends of mine at New Balance, which is a sponsor for the race were there though working the finishing area.  It's a big undertaking so they stay overnight in the Lenox Hotel located on the finishing line.  Fortunately they were on the eleventh floor inside the Lenox when the two bombs exploded so none of them were hurt but they were certainly rocked by the shear power of the explosion.  Keith said he literally thought the building was about to collapse and got out as fast as he could.  Once he made it onto the street he said it was the most horrible sight he had ever seen and hopes never to see anything like it again, a sentiment every eyewitness undoubtedly shares.

IS AN IDEOLOGY

I think the questions for most people are why this happened and how can the problem be fixed for good.  The complexities around these are so layered and shifting I don't think anyone really knows the answer because the enemy in these things is an ideology and a tactic not a group of people.

The Pentagon, FBI, CIA and the like; with all there might aren't fixing the problem.  The successes they've had come more increasingly with compromises to our rights as citizens of the United States.  I'm not saying this to knock them either because you have to invade private homes (without a warrant) with two wacko's on the loose cooking bombs in their kitchen to murder people and kill cops.

So anyway I was thinking this morning, 'I'm into bike riding', obviously....and I thought about all the positive effects bike riding, bike racing and this lifestyle have for myself and for my community.   Going through them it's actually hard to keep track there are so many.  In this, I also thought about how one bike rider can become a household of bike riders and household can become a community of bike riders that can eventually become a nation of bike riders.

I know it's a pipe dream and somewhat oversimplified but what do you think the odds are of a radical ideology wanting to annihilate a nation embedded in bike riding lifestyle.  When was the last time Denmark get bombed?

Peace and roll strong.

Monday, April 15, 2013

When it rains.

 

About a month ago I heard this song, liked it and saved it as a blog 'draft'.  I hadn't heard it before.  Its nothing really great or anything, its just one of those simple tunes that conjures things within me and I thought maybe I'd write about this sometime.

Yesterday morning getting dressed in the car to ride the Tour of Battenkill I was thinking about these things again and as happens from time to time to nearly everyone, this song played in that moment.

It was cold and close to raining outside and as I sat there in the car, huddled in it's warmth, I began to really hope it would rain. I nearly prayed that it would.  About half way through the ride it actually started raining and as the drops tapped against me I could not help but think they were asking me to be remembered in some way, in this song perhaps, again and in the stirrings it uncovers.  

Early this morning I was awaken from the same dream and I just laid there in my big bed in a haze of wonder... wondering about the layers of this surreal vignette that revisits me, compartmentalizing it's fact from fantasy and it's reality and it's destiny...of space and time connected in reflection and images that are so real and present I feel their rain.

Peace and roll strong.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Beast inside.

I hope I can still ride fast or at least fast enough?  You get to a point where you sometimes think (as a friend recently put it)  "The day you stop riding fast is the day you stop".   At 50 years old I 'think' that day may be a lot closer than when I was 30 or even 40 yrs old but one thing I know for sure is that it's not today and it won't be tomorrow either.

 

That said, mentally I'm preparing for that day..I think?  Cycling is a place many of us go to flush out the bad stuff and refresh our mind, body and soul and I'm no different.  It's just that nowadays I see the waning of my physical capacities which isn't fun but I'm cool with it because there's still more in the tank and at the same time there's a kind of mental renaissance going on within me that I really like.  These days I find myself thinking about additional stuff other than simply riding hard and fast... like the rituals of riding for instance...and the kinetics, the places I'm going to go and the things I'll see.  It's more like touring with expertness that rolls hard enough for the few target races that are in the back of my mind.  It's a different mindset, vibe and lifestyle that I love.

Winter ritual....Pre-ride messaging & Facespace, copious java, *Check weather/ -How far below 30 degrees is it?
Not bad today/  No hat just LaZer helmet cover & Light booties.  Yes!....
2 weeks ago...Rocking the Vitruvian Man doing an victory exhale?   Decordova Sculpture Museum, Lincoln, MA.  
This past weekend Kelroc and I rode up to Singing Beach in 'Manchester by the Sea'  It's 110 miles round trip and it was pretty cold (maybe 35 degrees) but we had an awesome ride.  We were originally going to go Gulu-Gulu Cafe in Salem which over the last two years has become our cycling mecca but we decided to continue North up the coastline.  The reason we did sorta speaks to the expression aspects of why I ride and who I choose to ride with these days....Kel said, "Dude...two days ago I was on the beach in Santa Monica, CA and today I wanna be on Singing Beach in Manchester by the Sea in Massachusetts"....and that's why we did it.  To do it.  Different perspective(s).
Wind Tunnel Testing
Rides like this take care of all the training too.  5:30 hours with an average power output of about 300 watts.  4 hours into the ride Kel took a pull that lasted just about 50 minutes at over 350 watts.  I was tucked in behind him thinking of the days I could do that and wondering how long he was going to keep it up?  What made this even more impressive is that he hadn't been on his bike all week and he seldom trains more that 8 hours a week because of his work at New Balance and a ton of travel.  Keith has scary talent  but thats what you get when you put a world class x country runner on a bike....Still just 35,  6 ft 3" and 158 lbs...he can push 5.3 watts per kg 4 weeks off the sofa.  
Talent like his makes it really easy to focus on all the other epically cool lifestyle aspects of being a bike racer!

Shaving is annoying............Peace and roll strong!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Laws of Simplicity

Last week I posted a video on Facebook of RISD President John Maeda speaking at a 'Stem to Steam' symposium. And while the idea's around 'Stem to Steam' are way cool I was reminded of how I discovered John Maeda in the first place and the impact of a book he wrote had on me.


It was a while ago now, I was working on a project before Andrew Mitchell & Co. and was Google searching for design concepts around human factors in color interpretation.  I was about to hire a designer to build a website but wanted to learn more about these things beforehand.

And this is when I discovered John Meada and his book The Laws of Simplicity, written while he was running the computer science dept. at MIT.  Two quotes popped up under a couple of my keyword search results that caught my attention straight away.  The quotes were these.

“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.” 
  “If you are going to have less things, they have to be great things.” 

This book has incredible insights around embedding simplicity into all areas of life, learning, working and living a whole life with wonderfully conceptualized and effective simplicity.  All of it is presented in such an orderly and simple way that it almost belies the challenges and complexities to overcome in order to have the simplicity of which he speaks.  

Not too long ago I was speaking with a local writer about his own work and he said something that I think closely relates to how tough it is to have a simplicity that works; a simplicity that improves your life, makes you more comfortable, effective and happier.  

As a writer this guy was of course talking about writing but his comment below reminded me of the core issue in achieving simplicity that improves your life.  It takes a great deal of thought and a lot of effort.
"I'm sorry I wrote such a long letter, 
I didn't have the time to write a short one"

Peace and roll strong.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

No Drama

I woke this morning a little sore and a tad tired.  Ive been doing a few things recommended by my sports therapist, Susan Feist, to aid my hip using a soft ball followed up with caster oil and a heating pad.  I think it's working but I was running late yesterday and didn't finish up until 12:15 am last night.

My hip stiffens up really quickly, so each morning is a process of gingerly movement and as I made my way into the kitchen for coffee I was gauging whether or not last nights treatment had any effect.  I have to say, I think it may be working, which is refreshing.  You know, when you're in physical pain it adds, magnifies any emotional stress, which I have had plenty of, especially if it's nagging chronic pain.
Reflecting w/ these guys recently / Biffy Clyro

But this morning was cool in that it was I'm not sweating a single fucking thing right now.  My perspective is in a totally manageable if not in a positive place again and its nice to have less physical pain be able it to enjoy it.  I have a few self imposed goals to slay but other than that there's no drama.

On a separate note, last week was cool with a lot going on.  Last Thursday I had a great evening at an art show opening at Albright Gallery (http://www.albrightartgallery.com/) in downtown Concord. The Pic's here below w/ my new friend, (who has become like a sister to me) Director/Owner, Bonnie Albright & Featured local artist John Lobosco.  His work is really interesting with emphasis around proportion, texture and color.  
Local Boston Artist John Lobosco with Bonnie Albright
Also with us were Pulitzer Prize-winning American biographer Doris Kearn Goodwin (recent adviser to Spielberg on the Lincoln movie) w/ Dick Goodwin (speech writer & adviser for JFK & LBJ).  I met Doris and Dick a couple of months ago at Serafina's here in town where they go regularly and I see them around frequently.  You've never met lovelier people than Doris and Dick.  Their kindness and perspective are trumped only by their humility.  After party was even better, no pics though, on purpose, but lets just say the Goodwin's have a pretty rad posse, as they should. 
Doris Kerns Goodwin & Dick Goodwin



The days around here are getting noticeably longer now and I'm looking forward to a bike riding in Santa Barbara, CA next month to train and race with my new team.  TIME-Velo Pasadena.

Peace and roll strong.