Thursday, January 31, 2008

10 minutes, 600 seconds

were lost from the lives of Bill Hill(photo credit-thanks Bill), Christa to my left, Florence with her eyes closed, half of Roberta to her left and of course myself when we found ourselves trapped in Box #1 of the One Wachovia Center. The elevators in this building take your command from the elevator lobby, you key in your floor then you are assigned an elevator to get into that will take you to your floor. Shortly after 1300hrs yesterday I was returning a bank deposit to Poyner with three still in the bag from the noon at Kennedy and was assigned #1. The doors opened, I was the last to get on thinking nothing strange other than that there were 4 floors lit, it seemed like I only ever remember a max of three stops, especially knowing that there was only 5 of us on board. The doors closed behind us and we lurched upwards towrds the Mall level then we instantly fell, dropping down past the Plaza and into the basement where we came to a springy stop. I think Roberta spoke first by saying, "I guess we should call someone." I was close to the call button which I hit and reported our situation with laughter in the background. Security said a technician was on the way and we will be let out shortly. Within about 6 minutes the doors opened a crack and I looked down and saw half of an elevator mechanic's mustache looking up at me from the bowels of the building. He asked if we were all okay and judging by the goofy smiles on our face we replied affirmative. This green jumpsuit wearing fellow said he was about to have us out in no time. Just as we were trying to decide if we needed to start eating our lunches I felt the box go up slightly, I think it was manually pulled up to the Plaza level and then the doors opened to the smiling faces of the rescue party. That was it, the not really harrowing experience was over and life went on. It was nice to meet you folks and finally put some names with some familiar faces.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Upon a road two travelers meet in passing

On my way out the other night rolling east on 7th Street passed coming towards me a familiar face on a bike. A face on a moving bike in this town is such a rare occurrence I paid notice and saw none other than Kristen and her cool self rolling cruiser style for the big buildings. Without getting smacked by the two lanes coming towards me from behind or the two coming towards me from the front I cut across and came up behind her unnoticed. Camera out I started clicking a small series of this brave cool cycling soldier on her way to a class in the South End starting with the bottom image up. Here she is in front of the new bigger and better Mecklenberg County Courthouse. New development along McDowell St is the back drop, if I would have taken this same image a year ago the backdrop would have been a green wooded park lined with Cedars.
"That's right Bill notice I'm following all traffic laws by waiting appropriately enough at this light a few deep."

Two years ago I met this brave local rider at the Heck Yea Coffee shop which she and this guy named Jordy were owning/operating long enough to make the cash needed to ride across this continent on their Surly Cross bikes. A few months later when they passed the Heck Yea torch they packed up a few things in my BoB trailer and took off from the lovely QC for points west and north all the way to Seattle. I think it took them roughly 54 days and 33lbs of Couscous to make their journey and continental crossing which they did with honor. It is always good to see someone else riding around while I'm out there alone, especially a face I recognize. In the immortal and Euro accented words of the German journalist Florian Ruth, "You look soooo coooool."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Big cranes, big money, big times ahead!!

Look at these cranes, they are unreal. This new building at the 500 block of South Tyrone in between both College and Church streets started about a year ago as a huge hole in the ground. Here is a shot I took yesterday from up above in my top secret perch some 250 feet off the street. When this building is complete it will be juts shorter than the BOA Corp Center making it the second tallest in the QC.
If you look closely you can see the lines of a tunnel coming in from College Street on the left that goes under Tyrone Street and into the under side of this new construction.
Street level shot just north of the construction.
Your perspective looking up from the South side
That first floor will be street level retail, office space above.

Monday, January 28, 2008

And I was joking about my chain's TIS(Time in Service)

Here is a shot of the new recycled PC-1 Greasing up some clean bearings
Saturday morning I had to do the East Side Stay alive commute a little earlier than my normal Monday through Friday routine. I was headed to a board room on the 38th floor of the Hearst Tower for our annual company meeting. Breakfast was served at 0830hrs and the meeting started shortly there after and lasted till about 1300hrs. The company that I courier for has grown tremendously since it's birth in 1998 and in this economic gamble called life in the USA that is great news for all of us lucky enough to be contributing to such a force. It was neat to see everyone in the same room, normally we are spread out through the city and rarely have the chance to interact together.

When the meeting was over I made break for Mathews style to replace my way past worn chain that I had just got done sarcastically referring to as having more TIS than the two rookies that had just retired combined. It is always nice to see the guys at the shop, they have put up with me for long enough and are somehow always willing to give me behind the counter help. Before I opened a new chain package to throw away not only my wasted chain but the packing material for the new I spied the coolest thing ever, those guys have two CHAIN BINS OF DEATH(CBOD), that's right a chain bin of death times 2. These chain bins of death are created from years of installing new chains for customers and having a tail left over that gets tossed into the bin. I took out the 2 CBOD's and set them up on the counter with a crazy grin. I went through the first few chain pieces and set aside a 4 inch section of a new Cool chain tail, as I dug a little deeper I found a little section of new PC-1. Useless pieces to the right, oh there is another piece of PC-1, perfect, place it to the left. Within a few minutes of going through the top half of the first chain bin of death I had one link more than I needed to connect these lovely 4 pieces of brand new PC-1 for my work bike drive train. I christened the brand new shop grade Pedros chain tool(neat tool, holds more chain on each side of the mechanism than the park so no slippage, hands free) that came in earlier in the week and linked the sections together. Now with clean bearings, new grease in both hubs and the recycled PC-1 my bike feels really, really smooth. After thanking my support team of Mike, Matt and Sol I rode home from the shop by traversing the McAlpine Park Greenway and some if it's more woodsy trails which were fun on the Filmore.

Friday, January 25, 2008

3 Weeks in Colombia(read 12hr late edit)

I took this picture of Raab yesterday. This one a few days before Christmas.
Yesterday morning I started to hear a crunchy bearing sound from my rear Dura Ace flop flop fixxy hub. The noise became louder as the day went on and as soon as I knew the Wonderboy was in range I made a break for to use their tools, grease, rags and general good company for a mid afternoon work wheel repack. As soon as I walked into the shop I heard my friend Andreas Raab's voice from the work bench area, impossible I thought he was training in Colombia South America since January 1 and he was not due back until March. It was him, he came back a few weeks early to take care of some personal priorities and reflect on the past three weeks of riding in the big dense landscape of Colombia. He said he has lost 15lbs from existing on the saddle with his belongings on his back, eating good market fresh non processed foods and of course the general positive energy from being immersed in a new culture on another continent. While I started tearing apart my wheel Raab told me about a ride that stands out that was 86km from sea level to 4,000meters. Not only does that sound steep to me but it sounds physically stretching it with altitude coming down on you the entire way! The people in the towns he would stay in welcomed him and were reported to be very nice and genuinely concerned about their gringo guest. The only down side came a few days ago when he was jacked at gun point by two banditos on motor bike. Andreas was walking on foot when he was held up so he still has his beautiful bike but the banditos got away with his passport, a large amount of cash and his laptop. Interestingly enough this witty friend of mine did not lament the loss of his senseless material objects and in God we trust units but instead found himself grateful to be where he was surrounded by such a different and real culture. As he sat and contemplated what had happened to him shortly after having a gun to his head he realized that they could have taken his stuff or even killed him, it would not have mattered because he felt happy with where he was and what he was doing. Not too many people can even begin to understand that philosophy.

I wound up repacking both front and rear Dura Ace hubs, wheels are as good as almost new.

DELINQUENT(but important) INFO: I realized while riding around today that I had no idea and no way of knowing that Andreas was back in country just arriving within 20hrs of when I rode out to to fix maintenance my Dura Ace bearings that started making noise on the East Side Stay Alive early that morn. While I was repacking and listening to Raab it dawned on me that this was his original hub set that he sold to me 3 plus years ago for the very best price after he crashed his Mostowy into a car that crashed into him. At one point I ask for the bearing count acronym(front wheel, BB, rear wheel)which is when Andreas spoke up making my connection to hey, these were your hubs a revolution times a million ago. Is it possible giving consideration to the infinite powers of energy, manifestation and synchronicity that the hubs actually sent me who had been turning them daily for the past what seems to be an eternity to see their original owner? I believe so, just another one of my crazy thoughts that I will surely continue telling you about.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The retirement of two rookies at once

Little J, Jason H. sitting on the right here with the helmet on enjoying a fine lunch while on scene for City Sprint Sprint prior to the new Q.The Lady Courier
The inevitability that rookies will retire always strikes me as love lost and gained. I have seen a bunch come and go, less than few have actually stayed for an eternity. This is the first time however I have had a blog to announce a departure which will become a regular feature of my blog, Retirement of Rookies. Within the past week both Jason(Little J) and Jen(The Lady Courier) have formally retired from the Q delivery service after putting in a combined time effort on the street of slightly less than that of my KMZ cool chain on my work bike. Speaking of which I may have to get a new chain this March. Anyways it is always nice to work with such fascinating and individual people that think it is a good idea to eek out their livity from the saddle of a bike. The down side is they always, always go on to something better and more fossil fuel burning unless of course it is Rich or Josh who both will prolly be around until the end comes tomorrow. So long Ex couriers, it has been nice working with you, I found you both to be a fine addition to the uptown metropolis backdrop. Good luck in your new careers and I hope to see you on bikes one day soon! Let's wish both Jason and Jen good luck in their future endeavors~

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Semi live from Charlotte

Sorry, I know this stuff is really scary but if I had to see it in my face on the town square yesterday so do you. The only difference is these are still images not moving which makes them slightly less scary which I will try to offset with my commentary.
This one is great, always like seeing ole glory and the cross together just like it was when Jesus was crucified.
I dunno, I have seen this monkey before at this same event and it never gets dull.

This looks how I feel when I am watching this type of agro civic gathering.

Do you think her former ex child agrees?
This guy held his big sign for about 3 minutes, got tired, leaned his signage on the statues base and stood there like he was connected to the whole thing for almost 4 hours!

Another guy doing his part for the well being of America and the Cross.
I am a man and I talk and what I say goes even though I 'm not even sure what I am really saying has anything to do with what is true.
This guy looked at me and said, "Go ahead you can take my picture" I looked right at him and said, "I know I already have a dozen times." He wanted to know who I was with so I told him I was an independent journalist trying to get out the truth about what is happening in Charlotte. He squeezed the white baby, made a face then adjusted his ear muffs with the black baby still in his hand.

A closer look at the white baby, this one is for you Jerry Reed's ghost.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I fall down

So yesterday at Catawba I asked Nathan to take my picture doing the log ride at the top of the ending single track. I approached the transition front tire up onto the log then as the back wheel came around I snapped off to the left hard. Somehow the bike wound up way above my head, as I was falling down I remember seeing the bike go up and realizing it prolly will come down tried to get in a position to protect myself from the falling machine. While that was happening Nate was able to snap the above image of the fall, thanks Nate for one of the coolest crashing pictures ever.
Late Edit(announcement even though sometimes I make late edits without warning) BUMBLES BOUNCE! according to Yukon Cornelius who almost missed the flight to Nepal. I am always amazed at how many times I crash and how violent they can be. Fortunately I have been ramping up my skill set and negotiating my priorities enough that I don't fall down as regular as I did when I was 9 or even 33. I have never really been hurt except for a few broken ribs, broken collar bone(and some mystery skeletal disorder next to my collar bone), concussions times 4, stitches and contusions MAJOR. The crash above reminded me of how easily I bounce, when I rolled out of it I jumped up and said. "Wow, I'm not hurt, how amazing!" I don't normally break when I go down which at the age of 38 is rather gratifying.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Mountain bike tires over Snow covered bridges

make a strange hollow crunchy sound in the 20F degree early morning echoing across the upward sloping sparsely white hills and bouncing off the frozen trees. Early yesterday morning I decided that the ground was frozen enough to support a local ride without doing damage to the trail. I parked at Ballsberry's house, he was not home so could not partake in a little early morning way, way, way sub arctic Bill adventure. I took the spur trail in from the road and quickly felt the sticky frozen surface through the tires, the feeling reminded me of being a kid on a bike in North Eastern Connecticut in the early and late winter. The ground in spots was covered in an inch or so of white and the trail was hard petrified worm dirt an inch deep solid. Weird how the strangest things come to your head while riding in the trail alone, one minute I'm thinking that it is chilly out then I realize as a kid I was on a bike too and for whatever reason more free. Over and down the rollers along the lake no adjustments needed, keep pedaling. There were fresh deer tracks on the trail pretty much the whole way around the loop, sometimes more than one deer both in the direction I was going and towards me. At the little creek crossings I also noticed small mammal foot prints, squirrel, coon, possum? I got around in an hour or a minute less or more and took the spur back out which got me home for coffee.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Header Image

I took the above former header image on Sunday January 6, 2008 at the Catawba River mountain bike trail. I have trouble calling it the U.S. Whitewater Center because when I first came to the river trails you had to park on Heavy Equipment Rd and ride past the gate to get to the trail and there was no such thing as an economic water toy for those who need it. Before I get side tracked and go on with psycho babble back to the picture. I was at the end of a little group ride trying out a new system with a new camera dangling around my neck. The idea was going to be to try to photograph the female rider in front of me with my right hand while trying to keep up with the left. Over the little rollers, turning, pedal, pedal, turn then the smacking sound of my handless handle bar hitting a tree which caused me to make a funny gut noise then fall over hard into the ground. Somehow I kept the camera off the dirt and then I stood up quickly to play it off in case any riders came up from behind. I had to pull my bike off the trail because the front 8inch rotor was slightly tweaked from the violent speed wreck. I turned my bike upside down off the right hand side of the trail and did a field truing of the rotor until the noise completely stopped. When I looked up to get moving I saw what is in the above picture and thought to myself, this will make a nice shot. So I took the exposure and rode off to catch up with my friends who had completed an entire section while I was piddling around.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Devil's hands are Idle Playthings

Way back in the summer of 98 when I came to the lovely city of Charlotte to take on a new life as a bicycle messenger I met young Nathan. He was already riding on the streets working for some company that has been gone since prior to 2000 called A-Courier, formerly City bike, presently The Q changed from the most recent City Sprint. That's right, corporations are on their game when they come up with name changes that throw just enough of a decoy out there that they feel that they can justify their own management salaries. Nate always impressed me with his quick wit, lust for knowledge and his desire to get the hell out of the jar and travel to interesting far away places that could teach him more about life than just sitting around wishing he had.

So he left, went on to Europe, then Europe again, then Columbia, then some small places in Central America and this summer Ghana. Between his formal collegiate studies and his travel abroad he has an understanding of not only the global situation but his place in it that exceeds your average young successful professional by a ton. I wish more people were as considerate of their global surroundings as he is.

Nate rode from about 15miles out to the uptown the other day to show us his latest fabrication related to the betterment of human existence. As we rolled around I took the above images of him and his trailer that he put together in less than no time. The underside frame is made from square aluminum tubing that he found being thrown away as well as the conduit that connects the trailer to the bike. He did purchase the wheels and a small amount of hardware but in total has well under 50 in God we trust units invested. I tested the trailer and felt like it was solid, there was no speed wobble even above 20MPH down hill. I did however break the connection between bike and trailer arm when I came back past 90 degrees right and up on a curb. The coupling supple parts ripped, the trailer came disconnected and then flipped over on it's side. I have a tendency to break things and I quickly apologized to a smiling Nate. He told me not to worry because he had already foreseen this connector being a problem so he had a back up in the trailer. In under 5 minutes he replaced the coupler and rode away, trailer in tow. Production for this product will start when the first order is made.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Grit fire, Grit fire!

All hands man your grit fire stations, set zebra condition through out the ship, all hands man your grit fire stations. Once again being a bicycle messenger has it's perks, like witnessing the most bizarre little events that take place in the thriving metropolis of the jar. Yesterday on the square of this fine city I was grabbing some sun warmth against the BOA Corp Center when I noticed the start of a grit fire under the tree that I had just got done noticing had 5 pieces of non biodegradable trash visible in it's branches. The grit smoke billowed out while grit smokers free of corporate America for the few seconds they had to suck down a few grits did not even seem to notice as they stuffed new grit fuel into the slot. I went in for closer in your face grit fire shots, the smell was really bad, like smoldering plasticine and tobacco twisted in a hot knot that was air born. There was an off duty uniformed CMPD officer close by working for The Bank Of America who seemed almost as interested in the grit fire as I was. He informed me that he had notified management and someone was on the way with a cup of water. Wheww, thank God for that. I never got to see the grit fire get extinguished because I was called by one of my clients needing some ROD assistance.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Chief got shot by the cops~

My friend Massa the Great's dahhg Chief was shot with a tranquilizer gun by the CMPD animal control division last week. I ran in to them at the only coffee CO OP in town the other day and asked some questions. Apparently in the morning one of Massa's friends who may not have been paying attention to what was going on around him let Chief out the back door into a yard with an open fence. Chief took this opportunity to go out into the QC and see what was going on. A few blocks down the street someone must have called the animal control who showed up ready to handle the situation. Chief was prolly not showing any aggression more like a silly look on his face when the licensed shooter shouldered his rifle and fired a tranquilizer dart into the left side of the unsuspecting Chief. The dart must have been pretty big seeing the size of the hole left in his rib cage just a few days after it happened. Within a few seconds Chief's head would have started spinning, flashes of black fading in and out and then he fell over. The cops picked him up, threw him in the hold in the van and drove him down to the lock up. Chief was processed by the system with the collection of his paw prints, mug shot photograph and DNA. After processing he was given a small cell where he came to consciousness through a groggy haze. Massa who by now was trying to find his dog figured out that the cops had him so he went down to bail out his most loyal friend. The process started by identifying Chief through the mug shot page on the computer which let him know that Chief was alive and okay. Then he paid the 40 in God we trust units needed to post Chief's release which reunited the friends. Chief is recovering well from the incident and is expected to make a full recovery.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The oldest mountains in the world?

Yesterday morning Mary(she was planning on hanging out in the car while we were out)Jordy, Nathan and I took the recently revived Montero 55 miles east of town to The Uwharrie National forest for some trail riding and general adventure in the Uwharrie National forest. It is strange to travel east towards the coastal plain and run in to the risers that come up around a little bit more than a thousand feet above sea level. We geared up and started our ride from the parking lot to the Supertree loop, Nathan was on his geared cyclo cross bike and the new grease in his recently the night before repacked rear hub was giving his paws a bit of a sticky problem. Once that was checked out we took off down the trail and headed for the Keowee loop on the other side. I had a clear vision of these rolling hills being the oldest mountains in the world when I noticed on the top of one of the last climbs we made in that direction off to the left on top of a hill was a deposit of sharded white, pink and gray crystal. I was so interested by what this debris feild appeared to be that I left the bike and walked up for closer inspection. Imagine that the top of the hill was covered in crystal from the size of an average oven to the size of a pea and everything in between. It was clean and placed precisely by hundreds of millions of years of erosion down to the actaul core anchor of the original high mountain that one day loomed way above where I was standing now. I took some pictures of this natural scene but later in the ride while setting up for a trail shot I accidently erased my work. Note to self: NEVER MAKE ELECTRICAL EDITTING DECISIONS WHILE ON THE TRAIL> with 2gig of memory why would I, other than misguided compulsion. I picked up a 50cent size piece of this mountains original center core and we rode on.

After getting to the end of the Keowee we decided to push back up what we just descended and ride backwards towards where we came from. We ran into a group ride coming towards us and I told Jordan if we hurry we can see then back at the camp. We did run in to them but it was as they came back around figure 8 style up the road after Keowee to the juncture where we were about to get back on SuperTree. The leader of their tribe asked us if we wanted to see a new something off Supertree that they said was an even cut that stays inside and is really fun. One fellow spoke up and said that we should know that it was not a built trail but a fire road. Ha ha, it was a fun new thing out there, really fast and flowy with a few rocky sections and little bridges. That new hooked back up at the end of the Supertree and then we said our goodbyes and headed out.

On the way home we stopped in Badin for a swim, it was cold and quite something. My kid swam on New Year's day for over 20 minutes in the same spot, I do not know how she did it. I was in for less than 4minutes and I felt the cold in my hands until I ate dinner later that night.

Here is a film of Nate attempting a cyclo cross crossing of a little creek. Earlier off film he cleaned it which gave us the inspiration to make this little film....

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday's dark early East Side Stay Alive in the rain

was extra scary because even blinking red means nothing to the mass of traffico racing their way to nothing. I left Dooleyville 0655hrs to catch up with Rich for a side project that I have been working on for a few days or maybe my entire existence here in the jar. Once out on the real through the debris field and traveling east I realized I had not been out in such morning darkness or rain in awhile. It makes a difference to the normal, three lanes wide traveling 20-25 sometimes 40mph faster than I off to my left. First the surface contact does not have the same connected fixy stiction that I have come to count on. Then in wet darkness the auto viper driver has yet another reason not to see me even though I am blinking multiple red LED and reflecting light from the heels of my continually spinning feet. My visibility is cut down as well, including missing a visual of the surface through big dark puddles which by default causes me to imagine that there is a pot hole under there or a rock or broken asphalt with the autos a few feet away groaning a wet street contact noise. Up to the Centrolian split and headed straight away for the Plaza a yellow school bus passes me then turns into the parking lot on our right completely unexpected, bastard. If I had not felt it and not slowed a yielding turn I would have gone under the bus and the driver would have claimed that he or she never saw me. Instead my endangered instincts kicked in and I tacked around back on course. It was still dark when I hit Hawthorne and Elizabeth, only light gray above the breaks of fast moving low dark clouds. The photo project lasted for 30mins or so and then I hit the post office to pick up 2 tubs of mail for my first drops before 0830hrs. It is Friday and my schedule is half over.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wheelie man's fly ride needs a weldin`

Yesterday I ran into the Light Cyclist aka Wheelie Man up in the jar of the Uptown QC. I have seen this fellow cyclist and local artist now for about a year riding his wheelie on various streets. The guy has real walking skill. I have seen him holding a wheelie for longer than a block through lights on the square, splitting traffic and the cab stand. When I asked him if he wanted to go for a ride yesterday which would give me a chance to film him on the roll doing his mad skill he said he could not. He let me know that if he were to pull up on the front end of this long fork bike that the fork would just fall off with the wheel in it and he would hit the street. Upon further inspection I saw two radial cracks around each fork leg. So, no wheelies until he finds a welder. Once he does I'm hoping to catch up with him and get some good film of his wheelie skill. In the mean time at least check out the amount of effort he has put into the visual appearance of his light bike.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I wrote a poem

yesterday afternoon after being inspired by an incident that took place on my commute home Friday evening. As I turned the corner on Pecan Ave I ran into Luke(orange jacket), Aurora(cool huggy bear hat) and guy without name(the only one with a helmet to protect his brain housing group). Of course I have known Aurora and Luke for a few years now thanks to the ever powerful bicycle realm here in the QC, the guy without a name I had never really met before. Anyway I took this picture of them before we parted and upon further contemplation came up with the poetry/photo effort I am sharing below. This effort took a little less than an hour with 4 rewrites. Maybe poems with supporting pictures should be called something new, how about phoetry? Here goes my phoem. On my bike I rolled upon
three cycling travellers straddling their steads
in the bend on Pecan.

In front of them I came to a stop.
I observed not one of us appeared alike
each of our individuality
as different as our bike.

Together we stood in a round
with feet placed firmly on the ground.
A laugh, a grin setting sun clearly
showing the light within and in
our eye lit by clear light
we rode away separately
into the night.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The 2 day freeze

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week actually felt like winter as evident from the above picture of my Lemond Fillmore out in the South End. The picture was taken on the right hand side of the tracks almost to Remount where all the new contsruction is happening. So far the rest of this season has been short sleeve warm and very dry still even though the rain came it's nothing against the deficit. On Friday morning before work I rode out along the new light rail corridor on the pedestrian path that parallels the tracks to just before Clanton Rd. It was the first time I rode the path since the rail actually opened and I was surprised at the frequency of the trains going by. Just before they speed by an audible vibration shoots over your head along the wires, the train passes quietly for it's size then as it speeds away that same vibration picks up volume and reverberates over your head again.
The ice has melted and the cold has been over since Saturday and we are back to the winter warmth of a heating globe. This strange winter warmth is not just here, it is everywhere. It bothers me when people ask me in the elevator about how nice the weather is, 70F plus in January. It is hard to contain to myself when what I am actually thinking is great, maybe it will be 125F this June, can't wait.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Header Image

that has been staring into your eyes for the past few weeks is a self portrait that I made less than 10 minutes after the finish of Stage 7 of the 2007 Trans Germany in Shoneck. This stage was one of only two that ended with an alpine climb rather than the way more preferred alpine descent. When we came out of the woods on a small plain about 25km away from Shoneck I could see the green mountain rise upwards into the sky with small buildings on the top that appeared to be like something from a dream. A little while later Beccina and I were traversing the last upper section of the hill and entering the cobbles of the hill top town that wrapped around the outer edge of the mountain then dove into the cobbled alley that led to the finish line. Sven's call came from 30 yards out, "Und here comes die shingle shpeedas Villiam Fehr und Rebecca Thomaszewski from die United States of Americanner!" Through the finish, past the fake beer, to the grassy spot over under the trees. I laid there for a minute staring at the clear east German sky thinking how sad that after tomorrows stage to Oberweisenthal this will all be over. I took out my little cannon from my jersey pocket, checked the huge amount of light available, made an exposure adjustment and snapped the above photo which shows the clarity of light in my eyes which was something I was trying to convey before the picture was even made.
The Header image will change often and at some point before it does I will always try to explain what I was doing when I made it.
This weekend on Saturday I cut, split and delivered a Montero load of mixed Hickory, Oak, Maple and Cherry wood to V in need down in Ballentoon. There is nothing like a fire in the hearth during those darker slightly colder months of winter. Yesterday I went on a local ride at Catawba, one lap with friends and another lap alone with myself. The below little clip I shot on the first friend lap from the top of the GOAT HILL CLIMB. First coming to you is Dicky , then Johnny Tic Tac and then one with all the sound effects is Leanne. For whatever reason I think this vignette is really funny, TURN IT UP LOUD CAPTAIN!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

SSWC08 I'm in!

The below is an email that I received this morning confirming my place in the 2008 Single Speed World Championship race in Napa Valley California this upcoming August. For those of you who live under a rock or did not know the registration process went like this. On New Year's eve 12 midnight PST which meant 0300hrs here in the east and not one second earlier you had to send a simple form from the official web site. St Lissa set the alarm for me and I sat in front of the machine for 20mins waiting for my cell phone clock to hit 0300, when it did I counted to 6 seconds and hit send. The rule was that the organizers were going to take the first 350 eager registrants from around the planet and send them a happy letter a week later. I have participated in SSWC05 in State College PA and SSWC06 in Stockholm Sweden. Both experiences were fantastic and more fun than an adult should ever have on one short cosmic bike trip to a new place. I have never been to Napa and I cannot wait to take a leak in a vineyard with my SS mountain bike close by.

Wow - it's been a couple of rainy and busy days here at SSWC08 headquarters and we've been swamped with all the emails that came in on New Year's Eve. The response was overwhelming and the event filled up as soon as it opened. That being said we are sending you this email to congratulate you cuz you are IN! In order to complete your registration, you now need to pay $35 U.S. to our account by January 15th. If we do not receive your entry fee by January 15th, you will be dropped from the registration list and one of the 500 or so people who did not make the cut will be given your spot. There will be no refunds. We will be uploading tons of stuff on Napa and the upcoming race to our website and blog very soon, so check it out. We look forward to seeing you all in August when the trails will be fast and the poison oak will be in full bloom. SSWC08 Team

Here is a little movie clip that I took within a few beers of the finish of the SSWC06 on our ride back to Race Central av Stockholm along the river. Staring in this movie are Jordy Moore the only rider on a monster cross along with a cameo and unsolicited commentary by Dejay Birch, winner of the 24hr Solo Single Speed World Championship the year before Rich earned it. Turn it up loud Captain. I don't think I will spend as much time training to win as I will going for a great beard prize and or trophy.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The first ground score of 08

happened on Wednesday, the first work day of the new year and is worth more than the four bungee cords I pulled out of the debris field a short time ago. As I came around the corner East on 5th for my 10:15 at the Hearst tower there was this hockey puck looking object just about in the inside gutter. I scooped up, shoved it into my cargo pocket and a few minutes later in the elevator discovered that I had found a little I POD shuffle that can apparently hold 15hours of digitally compressed music. If you look closely you can tell it has been run over by a car, there is a small crease on the top and the clip on the underside is bent inward a tad but the thing works quite well. I listened to the crappy FM garbage that someone has on it and look forward to loading up some quality listening material once I buy a device that will allow me to do such. Being a messenger in Charlotte sometimes has benefits like the elusive and ever present ground score. You have to keep your eyes open and look for things that stand out and are not part of the normal backdrop. I have scored toys, tennis balls, random needed tools, tons of zip ties, full/empty sun glass cases and jewelery(one time I found this amazing silver chunky necklace that had hand art work in the design of flowers on it). If you are real lucky and paying extra attention like Dicky was a few months ago it's cash(he looked down and picked up a hundie, that's right 100$-cash). As strange as it sounds I'm always on the look out for things on the ground.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Full contact ATM'ing

You missed it & would have laughed really hard had you seen it, this relatively new spectator sport that has spun off of as an aside to the Meineke Car Care bowl which our lovely city welcomed this past holiday weekend. That's right the QC's Bank of America Stadium hosted a college football bowl game between Wake Forest and UCONN brought to you by Meineke Muffler Company and all that is greedy and over indulgent about our lives here in this fine country. Who won, who cares? The most important development that came out of the event besides all of the great photography fodder available was the witnessing of a new sport which I am calling full contact ATM'ing.

I first saw this display of energy while I was locking up in front of 129 W. Trade on Friday early afternoon. As I rolled up to the bench right next to the ATM these 2 humongous Wake athletic monsters came running from the valet area of their hotel, across Trade right in front of me. They were wearing dark team sweat bottoms, white sneaks and white WF polly long sleeve team shirts. The whole way across the street the bigger and darker headed of the two was throwing elbows at his friend and yelling, " Yea, Mother F$%&#@, money, I'm gonna be to the money first!" His quiet slightly smaller and light headed friend countered with some low shoulder blocking to deflect the elbows coming on the race to the ATM. When they hit the side walk right in front of me dark head wrapped his arms around the others shoulders and through him backwards but the friend was not having it, he spun right out and then the 2 of them were side by side shoulder checking each other and yelling profanities about the money GOD giving them what they need. It was crazy and funny at the same time, it was crunny.

The real insight came as I sat on the bench watching this crunny event end with the sound of the rollers kicking off the 20$'s. It was a thought that I could see these people now, these athletes brought to you by Meineke goofing off bringing attention to themselves for whatever that is. At the same time I could see them 10 years from now after they go for their 4million$(which they need)wearing ties, driving nice clean shiny cars, living in their McMansions and running in to each other at a nice Chinese restaurant. The next thing you know someone like me will witness full contact Chinese fooding....that's right fooding.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Bring your kid to work day....

Even though the state labor board sees your job as so hazardous that it classifies your industry as level 5 workers comp, the most dangerous level of employment which is insurable at a rate 15 times higher than those who work in let's say an office environment but equivalent to those who work driving HAZMAT or commercially fish off shore. On New Years eve day Ms Arcen had her last urban ride on the Trek Tag along while she kept up with my light holiday schedule at work in the uptown. We ran our schedule through the noon hour and had one deposit as far as 900 East Blvd which gave us cause to stop at Latta Park for awhile. I now know after seeing these images that she has fully outgrown the Tag Along but it has been a wonderful toy to allow her the feel of being connected in an urban situation, I guess I should have my eye out for a full sized tandem. The elevator commentary was full on with statements ranging from, "How cute" to questions like, "Are you not scared for her safety?" Hmmm let me think about that for a second, her safety is just fine.