Friday, June 25, 2010

Meh! Meh I say!

Mom always used to tell us that if we didn't have anything good to say, we shouldn't say anything at all.

I've amended that a bit to apply to what/when I write in this space: If I don't have anything significant to say, I'd rather say nothing.

Lately, it's just been more of the same-old-same-old around here, so why bore all y'all with that?

Sometimes I think I'm stuck in the greatest rut on earth...



Thursday, June 17, 2010

Meditations on a summer eve-uh-ning with Fang.

Twice in the last week I've involuntarily fallen asleep while doing something else. Something that didn't remotely involve sleeping. Sunday I was walking to the kitchen to fetch something when I inadvertently, unintentionally ended up facedown on the couch for an ~hour. When I woke I mopped the drool off my cheek, noted my groggy but oddly refreshed state, then continued my day.

Then, pretty much the same thing happened Wednesday.

Apparently I've reached critical status with needing (or at least wanting) to cram too much in every day. An easy thing to do for us OCD types with the days approaching their longest of the year.

As afternoon wended it's way into evening I made a mental note to change it up a bit. I didn't have the gumption to get kitted up for a ride, didn't even have it to change shoes and go for a hike. At the time I only knew that I needed to NOT build another wheel, NOT sit down to answer more wheel-related emails. I needed to step aside and let my own personal hurricane spin on for a spell without me.

I plucked the car keys from their hook, instantly bringing Fang out of his own facedown-on-the-couch state and into ~half alert. When I grabbed the camera, tugged a hat on, and wordlessly headed for the door I heard his nails clicking on the hardwood behind me. Atta boy. I'd noted earlier in the day that the M&M supply had run dry, and no further reason was needed to head to the store to re-up.

On the way we stopped by a small local park that, on a heavy traffic day, might have 1 other person and 8 ducks. Today there were seven ducks and zero persons. Fang isn't anti-person, but he *is* a fan of that kind of person-to-duck ratio as it means he can be off-leash roaming and sniffing.

And fetching. I lazily tossed the ball out there then I'd just sorta let my eyes wander. Watched the aforementioned ducks. Pigeons. Starlings. Red-winged blackbirds, and I think a few Grackles.

A few minutes later I'd notice that Fang was standing next to me. Still with the ball in his mouth, still dripping, just watching the birds, same as me. I lazily tossed it a few more times and paid attention to his response on each. His signal for 'I've had about enough' is to watch the ball splash down, pause for several seconds, then turn and give a long look that (to my eyes) says, "Didja have to throw it so far?". Then he'll reluctantly go after it. Never seen a more disinterested 'triever in my life.

Atta boy.

After that last toss we wandered around the park, back to the car, then down to the M&M department. Knowing that a guy can't show up to the checkout with a five pounder of processed sugar and a sheepish grin, I snagged 2 pounds of romaine and a pound of corn (ok, ok--Fritos...) on the way out.

After, we adjourned to the back yard and visually stalked more traveler birds as the day brought itself to a close.

Then, sensing what good had been achieved by stepping out of the whirlwind for a few hours, I stepped back in.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Jimmy D.

Most of a decade ago I was purposefully wandering around at Interbike, looking for sponsors with low expectations and deep pockets. I didn't find any, but I did meet some extraordinary people at the Zipp booth. We inhabited hugely different worlds--their niche was the international road and tri scene, mine was, well, too small to be called a niche. They wowed me with gee-whiz-enginerd-geekspeak blended with good old midwestern hospitality; I tried to relate what I did through past results and future plans. We struck up a sort of offhand relationship whereby they'd send me preproduction rims to build and ride. I was a mileage machine in those days and I'd do what I could to grind them into dust, always unsuccessfully. Through the years we kept in touch as best we could: I'd send pics from my travels and races, they'd send encouragement and occasionally new product.

As the years went on I met many of those that made up Zipp, both at trade shows and during a visit to the factory in Indianapolis. Jim Douglas started low on the Zipp totem pole but his enthusiasm and work ethic allowed him to climb quickly. When I called in to Zipp I usually spoke with Jim, and we developed a friendship as well as a camaraderie. Jim was always game to answer my questions and help out with tech stuff, but he was waaaaay more interested in talking about epic rides in the mountains, singlespeeding, dogs, fishing, skiing, what have you. When we couldn't talk we'd exchange pictures from our travels and adventures, me from around the western US and Jim from all over the world.

What seemed to push his buttons most were the pictures--he just couldn't get enough. You could hear the enthusiasm in his voice jump a few levels as he asked about the locations and all of the details. It became a sort of theme; we might go months without speaking but the pics would be flying back and forth every few weeks. It was great, and it continued right up until a few days ago when I took some of the shots in the vid below.

Unfortunately, I can't send Jim any of these pics, because Jim was killed in an accident last weekend.

I can't pretend to make any sense of it, even though I've heard the story from several sources. Not that it really matters what sense I can or can't make. Jim is gone. Just...


I still have his last few emails in my inbox. One stands out above the others--where he calls his 9 month old daughter Annabelle 'So cute she can't be mine' and then proceeds to detail towing her around in a bike trailer all weekend long. An email is far from a tangible thing but it's hard to let go of the verbal visuals he shared and how proud he was to be a dad.

I can't send him these pics, but I can share them with you, his family and friends, and maybe somehow that'll help to ease the sting or fill the void. Probably not, but it's really all I have to offer.

I'm not a religious type, not one to pray. But I feel inclined to ask everyone that reads this to keep his family in your thoughts. Whether they need guidance, strength, or faith, it just might help if we all send some healing energy that way.

Godspeed, Jimmy D. You are missed.