Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No Repeating This

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of me waking up suddenly in the emergency room of Brackenridge.

At exactly 3:01 pm on Dec. 11th, 2007, I cleared out at 111 Congress and headed north for my scheduled espresso break at Little City. This is a ritual I still practice today and only allow interruptions for express deliveries or the occasional hook up from Lauran at Jo's. The timing of the 3 o'clock double is almost always accompanied by an ironic awakening of office zombies. For the next two hours the feasting of brains is put on hold so the limits of one caffeine-spiked messenger can be tested. Or sometimes I just sit around with no work and daydream about office zombie babes.

On this day, however, I react in a typical fashion to a car attempting to sideswipe me by catching them at the light and removing their side view mirror with my u-lock. The only unusual thing was I misread the light and in an attempt to flee the scene, turned in front of a moving vehicle. As soon as I turned, I knew I was going to get hit.

I knew I was getting hit.

And then I woke up in the E.R not knowing what the fuck was going on.

My boss was there and doctors and nurses were cutting off my clothes and holding me down.

Enough of that. I survived and most of you know I went back to working as a messenger and raced the hell out of my bike. I no longer retaliate against aggressive drivers. Er, almost never. Just so you know what I'm talking about, here's an example:

I'm heading south on Congress and slip in between a Ferrari and a CapMetro bus. As I'm navigating my way through, the bus (on my right) is forced to push to the outside of its lane on account of some a-hole's car improperly parked and their ass is sticking out into the street. This maneuver, while never comfortable, is still just like being up front, right before the finish of a P12 road race. The Ferrari driver was like the rider that just upgraded and is not cool with you being so close and thinks its gotta be some faggot shit that makes you get all up in his bubble. He gave the usual horn blare and as soon as I squeezed through the crack I swung in front of the bus so as not to give any foul, man-play vibes to Mr. Ferrari. To make sure I knew he was honking at me, Mr. Ferrari pulled up next to me and starts shouting, "Hey! I coulda killed you!" This was an obvious attempt at luring me in to a "Na ah!" Where he would almost certainly played the, "You bike riding sissy! I'll teach you!!" But I wasn't going to be lured or netted, so I kept riding, not reacting. Well, Mr Ferrari must have just finished reading this, cause next thing I know there is spit hitting my cheek. If that's not testing my new found anti-retaliation practice, then what is? He followed me a few more blocks and even got behind me and acted like he was going to run me over. Before Cesar Chavez, he sped up to the light in front of me and jumped out of his car. That's when I realized I pissed off a drug dealer. The dude that jumped out of the car looked like this:

Not to stereotype, but I wasn't about to stick around and see if this guy wanted me to join him at his seed spitting contest. As any new practice will open doors, my calmness in the entire matter presented me with a unique opportunity. The stoplight has just turned green for eastbound traffic (where I happened to be going) and I had enough time and bike speed to pull out my water bottle and spray the drug czar down before I slipped into the eastbound flow of traffic. See? No broken taillights, mirrors or bones. Just a $2,000 hit out on me...

Well in preparation for my one year "I almost died" anniversary, I unknowingly lived today to the fullest:

It sleeted and snowed last night and at 7am I was on my bike heading to the gym. I worked out for two hours and squatted more weight than I have all off-season. I got a free shot of espresso at the new Beef and Pie espresso bar and surprised myself at being able to recognize Medicci's beans in the shot. Breakfast with Marsha. She is an amazing friend, cook, writer and bike geek. Home to pick up Batman and head downtown to deliver framed photos of the Governor's Mansion from the 20's as Armbrust & Brown's Christmas present to it's clients. Before I start delivering, I head over to Lofty Dog and dress Batman up like this to help with spreading holiday cheer:

Ya, he looks pathetic in this photo but that's just cause the last time he modeled for a camera he got conned into taking off all his clothes and ended up on some kitty-porn site.

All afternoon I smuggled him past security guards and then let him follow me up and down in elevators and in and out of offices. Zombie office workers were indeed impressed at the talent a brain his head must hold, but were too baffled by the santa suit to try and eat it. I sometimes would have to sit in lobbies while receptionist would parade around the whole floor with santa's little helper. At first he would not follow me into an elevator, but after about the first ten, he would just need a few seconds to decide another ride would open doors to more zombie office babes. So, the elevator door would open, I would get on, and after about 10 seconds, santa's little helper would come leaping over the crack. Sometimes there would be people already on the elevator or we would pick somebody up on the way down and I would just act like I didn't know what the deal was with him. "He just told me he had to get to the lobby, could I please hit the ground floor for him?" Weird that some people thought I was serious.

Back at home I enjoyed some lunchtime leftovers courtesy of Ms Marsha and then back to Progress (I did their bank deposit, like I do every day) for that 3 o'clock espresso. Went up to their yet to open roasting plant and helped Jordan package beans that they are gonna sell in house and at Whole Foods. The roasting plant was bad ass. I love espresso and seeing how delicate roasting beans can be will make me appreciate a good shot even more. Jordan was on a time frame with all the packaging and labeling bags of beans, and with my help we made the deadline, as is the courier style.

Back at home I changed and headed to PureAustin and did Lauren's 75 min Hatha Yoga class. Lauren is like my guru. She tends to share a little bit of herself while teaching and over the last year and some months I have connected with her enough to understand there is no teacher without the student. My body had done a lot physically today but my mind is still going and going and going. I breathe and try to slow it down, but it's the end of the year, I haven't raced in over two months, I have so many doubts and tomorrow, a year ago, I almost died and a year later I'm basically the same shmuck in the same stink. That last statement is not entirely true, but when I bag on myself, I lay it on pretty thick.

And then about 55min in the class, the series of events of today and the anniversary of tomorrow hit me like the truck that started this cycle. I can't believe that if my life is a choice, which it is, I decide to live it the way I did today.

I start to cry.

Class is not over. I recover. Do some hip openers and then during shavasna get an image of my silly dog in his costume today and start to cry a little more.

So if like in Donnie Darko I am really already dead and this last year has been just an amazing trick the mind plays right before I actually die, I have chosen ambition, love, humor and humility as my final act.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cook it up!

Tamales I made for Thanksgiving. Three types: bean and provolone, 2.carrot, broccoli and gouda, and 3.brisket. I rolled about 8 dozen

Was feeling a little spent after a hard week of work and a weekend of riding. Stayed in today instead of going to the gym and made some ckn/rice/veg soup and buttermilk biscuits.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My First Day on the Velodrome

This was at the Superdrome in Frisco, TX on 11/22/08. I had completed certification that morning. Im racing my new teammate, Jed Rogers, who happens to be a stud on the track. No excuses tho. Sprint lap was clocked at 33mph


Had a dream the other night I was sitting down at a coffee shop with none other than the 7 time Tour De France champion. A little history before I continue with this story:

Three times in real life I've had the opportunity to be around this guy. The first time was on the Tues Niter. Guys were riding silly cause he was there. As we were rounding a bend, I passed a guy, already on his limit, on the inside and he rubbed my back wheel and took himself out. He also took out a few of the people around him which could have been The Man. Oh man, that's just what I needed, to be part of crashing out a world champion. Lo and behold, he comes flying past me attempting to bridge up to a break. I end up in a chase group with him and put in my time on the front. Later, we were riding right next to each other and a gap opens in front of us. Before anything is done, I say, "I got it," and close it down. Ha

The next time Mr. TdF and I cross paths is when he is opening his bike shop in downtown Austin. I was locking up at a pole outside and I look over and he is staring at my ride. "Nice shop, Lance," I say. "Thanks!"

Number three was the best. Another Tues Niter. I bridge up to the break and then flat. I change the flat and then start heading backwards on the course. The break is still off the front and I jump back in. He's joined the break and the tempo is brutal. My friend and narcissist Trickey is there too. Mr Trickey enjoys people telling him that he resembles one of the best cyclist in history. Well, as we are rotating through, I too can see the resemblence and audibly point this out to Mr. Trickey, within earshot of all in our intimate group.

So as you can I have managed to rise above the expected standards when dealing with a character of his stature. Nothing against him, but I bet he gets tired of people all over his nut.
Well in my dream I caved. We are sitting down in a coffe shop and I tell him that I anticipate he is going to have a very successful comeback season. "Really?" he probes. I tell him that it may not mean much but I have been following his progress and could predict more great things from him. He seems pleased.

My dream then morphs into a more realistic scene where I am asking Dave Wenger if he is ever going to consider inviting me on one of his rides. It seems hopeless and I walk away as Dille ensures me that it'll happen some day.