Thursday, November 19, 2009

Local Cycling Support in the USA...

I dont know what prompted me really to write this, but something did. I was reading and article earlier posted by one of the more excellent brains in the cycling BUSINESS these days, over at Competitive Cyclist. He talks about just that, the lack of support among the USAC for anything that remotely resembles a grassroots, or local program to enable young riders to achieve the type of success that would put us on the map again vis-a-vis Europe. Since I can't seem to link to the page correctly, I will post the text of it, I hope they don't take huge offense to me reposting it here.

"- This week USA Cycling made public their plans for creating membership growth: Having Lance Armstrong race 'til he's 67 years old. What you won't see in this article are the words "grassroots", "developmental", or "significant corporate sponsorship". When contacted about these concepts, USA Cycling suggested we contact USA Luge instead. Uttering these words at USAC, apparently, is a firing offense. Other forbidden language includes "world-class track program" or "awareness that cyclocross exists."

The lack of vision at USAC astonishes -- that is, if you're old-fashioned like me and measure "vision" though (a) measurable results (like, e.g. "high-school club racing has grown by x%" or "we have increased corporate sponsorship by $x" or "membership numbers from ages 11-21 has increased by x%"); or (b) by substantive communication. But as we all know, the membership is furnished with no data. Communication occurs as we cite above -- USAC-to-cyclingnews, aka Politburo-to-Pravda. But visibility to a strategic plan with an actual strategy (i.e. more specifics than saying "we strive for excellence")? It'll never happen. At USAC jocksniffing runs amok: They ceaselessly fawn over world-class riders, but provide no proof of interest in cultivating the superstars of year 2030. Where is the outreach to kids who've never ridden a bike outside the neighborhood? Why doesn't anyone there understand the future value of today's novice? For the average American amateur bike club, USA Cycling licensure expense is just that: An expense with no apparent ROI."

Its definitely an accurate argument, and its something that has been in my thoughts lately too. My daughter is coming along really well in her own cycling, (I mean, admittedly, shes still young, and just beginning,) but why should she pursue it at great cost, and devotion, and have no hope of real, long term success? It's hard for any woman in cycling, so even if it were my son who was developing well, USAC's policies give them no hope of future success. It makes it necessary for a cyclist to either live as a pauper, or be basically a playboy, able to support his own habits.

I wonder where things are going in the US, cycling wise.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Going home soon...

As we're preparing to get out of here, we have to pack well in advance, because of the logistics system. So I'm packing up over thirty days before we actually leave. So in any case, as Im going through my stuff here, I find myself oddly attached to strange little things. I just chewed on whether or not to pack this silly little pen. Its a pen on my desk that I've used for some time, but I certainly don't need to take it home. So why would I even consider it? Very odd. I'm so ready to get the hell out of here, I would think none of this would matter at all to me.

All I can really think about, all that really matters to me is getting back to this...

I just can't wait to see them, talk to them, sit with them...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I have GOT to get out of this place...if its the last thing I EVER do...

Friday, August 14, 2009


I dont know how many people have said that things happen in life that there is just no explanation for, but I guess I have to add my voice to the chorus. I hope tomorrow makes more sense to me than today did.

At least my son is still wearing his shirts backward...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fuck I need a bike ride

I don't care what anyone says, the stationary bike is no substitute for honest to goodness wind in your hair, bugs in your teeth spinning of wheels. It probably does a reasonable job of maintaining fitness, however at what cost? There are a thousand things I can do for cardio, I mean the elliptical is a better workout in less time, but its not a bike. I ride the bike back home for fitness to be sure, and there is certainly still competitive spark in me, as I full intend to race the upcoming season when I get back. HOWEVER, the main reason I ride, is mental. Its an escape. Its an immersion into the world, the smells, the sounds, the sights, the dangers. It's not an hour enclosed in a steel and glass cage cruising around the city, its not an hour sitting in one place in the gym listening to women gossip and CNN speak of doom. Its F R E E D O M in its purest. I go where I want, for as long as I want, I go as hard or as easy as I want, I only answer to myself. I am not insulated from the world, my legs get dirty, I smell the good and the bad, I hear the whir of the chain on the cogs, my spokes slicing through the air.

I miss it dearly.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Just life

So it would seem that I have found a way out of the three month rut here, (which they tell you in all the pre deployment briefs happens to everyone) and I'm doing exactly what they say you will, I found a project. The project is me. I've been working out seriously hard, and enjoying the endorphin high. When we first got here, I used the stationary bike to help with the acclimation to the altitude, and now that I am fully acclimated, I have been riding it really hard. I do 90 minutes two or three times a week, with 50 minute days thrown in between. (I get one day off completely every week) and then at night, I hit the gym for an hour or more. I'm doing a simple routine of chest/triceps two days a week, and back and biceps two days a week, with a single leg day thrown in between. It goes in a pattern like Chest/Biceps/Legs/Chest/Biceps/Off that way there are two days between any major muscle group. Seems to be woring like a charm, despite having put on a reasonable amount of muscle, I'm down ten pounds overall in the last two months. Maybe more importantly, my attitude is way better. Endorphins rock.

Our little gym is just that, little, so I go late at night when its not packed, but the Poles are far more interested in getting big than cardio, so there usually isnt a wait for the bike. I plan to mix in more running later in the cycle once I lose all the weight I plan to, and get my joints all functioning right. Its been a while since I maxed a PT run, and thats one of my long term goals from this.

the weather is still completely bearable here. :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rock beds

Rock beds, originally uploaded by Dave in Austin.

Driving here is always a challenge

Been too long

So we've settled into the routine here, things are pretty much as you'd expect for Afghanistan.

I've been spending alot of time on ADV Rider lately, and I've been inspired to travel west through Utah when I get back. I promised TL that I'd take her on a road trip when I get back, and she's really wanted to go to the Black Hills and the Grand Canyon. They are geographically very disparate and it would be hard to hit both, but if we go up through Colorado and then West into Utah, we can hit Moab, Zion, the GC, and then back into Texas in about 15 days, which is what I've budgeted for the trip. The big question right now is whether I take Jack and/or Aidan with us. They are both probably big enough to make and enjoy the trip, and I would certainly love to have them, though I promised Tori we would spend some time together when I get back. I still have plenty of time to figure it all out, its about a year away. Check out this forum thread if you need to get your head around the places Im talking about...

I figure while I'd love to buy a GS BMW when I get home, in reality, most of the touring I will do for the next few years will include the kids, so most likely I'm just gng to outfit a nice 4WD, 4DR Toyota for our expeditions, and maybe rig up the Rover too for the bigger ones. Roof rack, Lift, etc.

Big night tonight, so more to follow...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

first hit from Afghanistan

We've been here in Ghazni for a few weeks now, and we're still living in tents, out of rucksacks. Our predecessors are having all sorts of problems getting out of the FOB due to the limited amount of air resources that come and go from here. So needless to say, noone is really happy with the situation, and the men are bitching pretty much constantly since we've been basically transient for 2 months. It gets old.

So Im sitting at breakfast this morning listening to some of the men talking about games, Halo, and some other online games, and Im amused that they are such willing killers who are discussing the merits of video games.

So in the middle of this, one of the other E4s comes up and announces to the bunch that his girlfriend has broken up with him. He plays it off that he doesnt care, calls her names and talks about how he took advantage of her, but I can tell by the look on his face that its bravado. He says, well, now, since I have no reason to go home, I can really do some crazy shit. Then he says in fact, I dont even have to go home on mid term, I can go to europe and nail some euro trash. The other guys all chime in, calling him "number 1" but its a dubious honor. It means hes the first to get dumped on this trip.

So another kid starts talking about how on his last deployment, his girlfriend dumped him after a few months, and it gave him freedom. Since he didnt care if he lived or died, he could do so much more. An NCO sitting next to me, also listening to all this, mutters under his breath "all women are whores..."

Monday, March 2, 2009

see ya in a bit America

I find myself looking down the barrel of my last night in America for the foreseeable future. At least the next 4 months. Many men have stood here with the same view, many of them far more adept at finding a way to help those without such experience have some inkling of what it tastes like.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sad really...

When the high point of the week is a trip to the Greenwood Mall.

What has the Army come to when grown men can't be allowed to account for themselves.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


We slipped the wire today, and stole away to Barnes and Nobles. Yes, we are intellectual cavemen here, and when given a few priceless moments of freedom, we spent them in a bookstore. I cant lie, we also swilled coffee, and engaged in rather fascinating conversation around what makes a great and compelling photograph, as well as whether Jimmy is truly as uptight as he appears from a distance. It was a really nice way to spend an afternoon, and of course, it was spent with the best people I know. At least the best ones Im not married to.

I plan to put together some thoughts on the photograph thing. Its been a question thats been nagging at me since I started to really embrace photography as a hobby and an artform, though not one I excel at.

Thats really the question isnt it? WHAT is a good photograph? What separates Ansel Adams from the many, many imitators? What does Schiller see before he presses the shutter? As we discussed tonight, its not always the image that you think that turns out to be the real winner.

In any case, I want to put together a more coherent diatribe on this, and I'll save that for another day, tomorrow perhaps.

Mario, quit being candy assed, and put your blog up. You might be surprised how many people are interested in what you have to say...

Saturday, February 14, 2009


So I'm entertaining myself a little with Hank Moody lately. I dont really have much in common with 'ol Hank on the outside, but COMPLETELY understand the man. He's a bit like a washed up rock star, you know the guy, the David Lee Roth of the literary world. He still has it, he still gets the attention, but the "respectable" people out there kinda sneer at him, and wonder "what the fuck" while being ohhhh so secretly jealous.

I mean who doesnt want to punch out the asshole that disrespects the object of our affections at a high dollar fund raiser? But the rest of us are saddled with that little inner (or in some cases big outer) voice that keeps us from crossing that line. We have something to lose. Hank has real freedom. He has established that nothing he does is going to make his life worse than it is, so fuck it.

He is being vigorously pursued by a breathtaking 16 year old girl who he "accidently" slept with and oh by the way is also the daughter of the target of his unique disgust, (the man who is marrying his beloved ex girlfriend) and in some strange way, the way we dont want those upstanding people people I referred to earlier to know about, we ALL respect him for it.

He is a fantastic father to his own daughter, at least in the 21st Century book of rules kind of way, and in a strange sort of proxy that crosses the line to creepy even for me, he is doing a pretty damn good job of parenting the aforementioned 16 year old as well..

I share Hanks disdain for the man, for the system, for the decay of American Culture, and for the bulk of the people that comprise that culture. I share his desire to unset the smug and crass, and his taste for whiskey from Kentucky and cars from Stuttgart. So since I have about 7 episodes left to view from the 1st season of Californication, and a MONTH of time to waste here in Indiana, all I can say is THANK FUCKING GOD for Hank Moody.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

So Im home on pass...

Im sitting here at my dining room table, IMMENSELY enjoying the time with the kids and family. I wish it was more.

IMG_9221, originally uploaded by Dave in Austin.

The Army never fails to confound me, though I've been dealing with it for 15 years, you'd think Id be used to it by now. So we arent leaving on the 15th, or even the 18th, its going to be some time in March most likely, so I have to fly back tomorrow to a three day weekend at Camp Atterbury. Most of the post is going to be closed due to the holiday, so there is ABSOLUTELY no reason to go back. But here we are.

These are the things that make want to just chuck it all and get the fuck out, but honestly, I think its worse out in the civilian world. They have no recourse to stupidity. At least here I can often pull rank, or influence someone who can. This situation just works out to suck. Were going tot ry to make the most of it, and get some training in, maybe some MWR days in Chicago and Indy, but all in all, its just stupid.

More later.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Still in Indiana

ice world too, originally uploaded by Dave in Austin.

So were still here. We've had some astoundingly bad training, and some pretty good training. But its all kind of refresher stuff for most of us. Only a few more weeks til we roll now.

So I have a few plans for when I come back that I'm working over. I was talking with one of the other guys here the other night and we're thinking of putting together a modest trip to Daytona the March we return from Afghanistan. Probably about 8 of us going over there, trailering the bikes into the local area, and then just taking in the scene for a few days. That one still needs some fleshing out.

As soon as I get back, like maybe before Christmas if we get back that early, we're taking a family trip out to West Texas, for 8 to 10 days. I want to camp out in the snow with the kids, and also stay at Ft Davis a few nights. That one is planned out pretty well.

In the Spring, like right after school gets out, I'm taking TL for a 10 day motorcycle trip up through Colorado, maybe Wyoming, etc. That one is planned out pretty well, except that the route keeps changing as we talk more about it.

My free time is winding down this morning...more tonight maybe.

Sunday, January 11, 2009 we are...

Im at Camp Atterbury Indiana, and its cold. Damn COLD. Why would people live here? There arent any wonderful scenic mountains, or anything like that, its just rolling farmland. Nice, but lord, the winters...

The people seem nice enough, and the stations we've gone through here have been well organized. Were really looking forward to getting through this part, and on to Afghanistan. Our title 10 clock is ticking so to speek, but really, we all want to get on with it.