in my world of denial i drive to work with my mountain bike mounted to the top of my car. i wear torn jeans, i sport a shaved head and i have a modest tattoo of a bicycle on my forearm. i don’t work in a bike shop, or medical marijuana dispensary… nor am i heading there. on this particular day i am heading to the software company in boulder colorado where i work. i am a software engineer. i show up to meetings with my ipad, i use instant messenger to communicate…and i can never find a pen.

my counter part

dave drives a stock 1990 honda civic with a manual five speed transmission. it’s a rather plain car with almost no personality to it what so ever. in fact the lack of personalization actually makes this car unmistakably dave’s. although dave is a quite opinionated person, he has resisted the temptation to clutter his back bumper with his ideals. he saves his opinion for those who care enough to engage.

on several occasions before work i have witnessed dave sitting in his car with the windows rolled up, listening to classical music. he will just sit there patiently waiting for the song to end. As soon as it ends, he promptly shuts off the radio, unbuckles his seat belt and gets out of the car. i’m not sure if he waits because it’s his favorite song, or he just waits because it would be rude otherwise.

dave loves the dilbert comic strip. he will often tear out a page from the calendar and walk around the office showing people. he’ll hand you the comic strip and sit there smiling and chuckling until you “get it”. it’s a little known fact, but dave actually sends letters to Scott Adams with suggestions for new characters loosely based on actual people i work with.

deep-well chords and button-up shirts are the only things i’ve seen dave wear. sometimes he wears long sleeves sometimes short.. but never a t-shirt. dave is 70 years old and is considered to be quite cynical and somewhat snobby by most people… but these same people will also tell you that he is such a nice guy. i am one of “these” people. i used to be very intimidated by dave. he had one of the largest cubes in the building and a chalk board full of symbols, lines, and angles used express algorithms relevant to his ideas. he reminds me of professors that i’ve had in school, not just one professor, but a compilation of every teacher or professor. i don’t remember for sure, but i think dave has a degree or two in structural engineering and in math.

the juxtaposition

the other day as i was walking into the office i saw dave meandering about the front doorway.

i said “good morning dave” as i passed him.

he said, “leo, i need to talk to you.” he proceeded followed me to my desk.

he was carrying around a piece of paper and a notebook. besides comic strips, dave also like to print out interesting email so he can share them with people, so i figured he was looking to talk. dave walks kind of slowly these days, so i slowed down the pace so we could get there at more or less the same time. we finally got to my desk and pulled out a chair so he could sit down.

“what is it dave?”

it turned out that dave actually had a real work related conversation for me. he wanted to explain some new functionality he was trying to implement. the piece of paper he was carrying around was a printout of some mechanical detail drawing with some additions he had made in pencil. actually everything was so straight and perfect you could hardly tell they were hand drawn.

he then took out a small piece of plain white paper, and reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a wooden yellow pencil sharpened to a very fine point. it’s funny that i never noticed before, but he always carries at least three finely sharpened wooden pencils, point up in his pocket. i guess it fit so naturally in his character that it never stood out.

he started drawing this very complicated connection scheme that was to represent an actual wooden joint used in light construction. after nearly finishing his drawing he found something wrong with one of his original lines. “i drew this bearing too thick, it should be thinner than the blocking…” he turned his yellow pencil around and erased the line with the red eraser. lightly dusting off the eraser dust, he continued his drawing.

after finishing his drawing he started explaining it to me. as he was pointing out key areas in his drawing with his yellow pencil, he interrupted himself and said, “wait, let me use red”…

without looking he put his yellow pencil back in his shirt pocket and pulled out a red colored pencil. just before he started to draw something, he held it up in front of his eyes, i guess to make sure it was sharp enough. and yes, it was just as sharp as the other pencil! he drew some more stuff on the paper red … and when he was done, it looked like a little piece of art.

we finished our conversation and dave got up out of the chair. just as he was leaving he looked on my desk and said, “that banana is too ripe for my taste” … then walked away.

now that fall is officially here i have to start worrying about a lot more things when i commute.  in the good old days of summer i mostly had to worry about packing my essential work clothes….shoes, socks, underwear, pants, shirt, and wallet.  with the exception of pants, think i have forgotten at least one of those items on the list on more than one occasion.  nothing like walking around the office all day in a retro “once” cycling jersey.  admittedly it was a little awkward and embarrassing, but it was actually kind of convenient. i carried around my pen, notepad, and cell phone in the back pockets for most of the day.  socially, that was probably the worst of all things to forget… god forbid i should ever forget to pack pants.  i would hate to walk around the office in padded cycling shorts… probably get slapped with a harassment lawsuit, get fired and have to explain to the judge what “really” happened.  also, it used to freak me out when i forgot to pack underwear…i think i was over reacting because recently i learning that my teenagers go commando all the time, i don’t ask why…but i don’t care so much.  it’s not like high school where i’m standing up in front of my coworkers and the office-jock decides that it would be funny to “pants” me.  anyway those days are over i hope.

now that fall is here, i not only have to worry about my clothing, but i have to worry about the weather and lights.  the weather is not so bad, it’s just that it can change drastically within eight hours. it can go from very very cold in the morning to very hot in the evening… and the worse part is when the weather goes from warm to cold.  those are the days when i really dread the ride home.  it’s usually dark, i’m under-dressed… and my support crew has the night off, or something.  anyway, i’m probably too stubborn to call it off and get a ride home.  it never fails,there is always someone at the office, who insists that i get a ride from them, they can’t understand why i don’t just take the ride already… but i have to explain how demented i am, and that i have absolutely no other choice but to ride home underprepared.

note: the absence of light problems usually occurs when i forget to pack my light, or when i forget to charge my battery at work.  by the way i don’t risk lighting problems….i may be an idiot but i’m not stupid!  haha…

so the other day it was my birthday and i got a new commuter light from my family.  they knew exactly which one i wanted because i had emailed them a link before my birthday.  just to make sure there was no confusion, i went ahead and ordered it as well.  i even brought it in from the mail box when it arrived.  after i opened it up and i made sure they all got to see the birthday present that they bought me. i couldn’t wait to ride home the next day.

the only problem with trying out the new light was that it didn’t get dark soon enough. this time of year it gets dark around 7:30.  i usually get out of work at 5:30.  so i decided to work two extra hours.  it was ok, i think i won some respect from my coworkers. “hey leo, working late huh?” ….me: “yeah, i just want to finish up some stuff here, you have a good evening…. he he”  a little after 7 i suited up, packed my stuff and out the door i went…

i forgot to pack my tail light, but i had my old flashy headlight with me, so i just mounted it on the seat post and pointed it backward.  as i rode it wasn’t completely dark so my headlight wasn’t too impressive.  as it got darker and darker the peripheral scenery slowly faded away and i could feel my mind sharpening as i just concentrated on what was in front of me.  each curve of the path brought a slight rush of adrenaline as i had no idea what was around the corner.  i stuck to the right as much as i could just in case there was someone on the path coming the other way.  as i exited the gravel path and pulled on to the shoulder of the county road, i could see my beautiful little light light-up the road paint.

there was a closed road up ahead, so the traffic was non existent, i could ride in the middle of the road if i wanted. in fact i did ride in the middle of the road after i passed the barriers.  i felt like i was flying through the darkness i could hear almost nothing but the rumbling of my tires as i zoomed through the empty county road.   it wasn’t long before i was on the concrete bike path.  the path was really dark and curvy but not as open as the gravel path earlier.  even if someone did have a light i wouldn’t be able to see them until they were 10 feet in front of me.  so i slowed it way down….and it’s a good thing i did because there were lots of people out walking their dogs.

people really forget that they are out on a shared path sometimes.  they often walk with their dogs on one side of the path while they are on the other.  they just assume that no matter what time of day, they are the only ones on the path… oh yeah and who needs reflective gear?  it got to be kind of annoying after a while trying to see people, i kept thinking i saw someone, and slowed down, but it turned out to be a shadow….. bleh.

anyway, wear something reflective or light colored please, and for the love of god stay to the right!!!

i made it back to my car and felt a bit energized.  the first night ride of the season is always a blast.  i just love it.  i actually always enjoy it just a little bit even on the bad days.  i don’t really enjoy all of the logistics that fall and winter commuting bring but i get used to it, and before long it becomes fun too.

test post for yesterday’s epic day.

via Garmin Connect – Activity Details for Untitled.

a few years ago i  used to wake up  very early in the morning and ride my mountain unicycle on the trail before work.  i would leave my house in the dark and get to the trail head just before the break of light.  i loved doing this trail, i had been doing this for years, and i slowly but surely i was able to master each section.

as far as safety is concerned, unicycling is actually a little safer than mountain biking.  i know most people are probably thinking that i am out of my mind for saying that, but i truly think so.  i have been riding a unicycle for so many years, i don’t even think about falling.  not that i don’t fall, it’s just that i fall so often it’s not a big deal anymore.  i fall hundreds of times, but i rarely get injured.  i always use body armor for my shins and knees and a helmet for my head.  the difficult part for me is strength and power.  it takes a lot of strength to climb hills and a lot of power to get over obstacles like rocks and logs.  falling is more like a controlled dismount.

so i guess my sense of reality is a bit twisted. when people see me riding on the trail, i always get comments like, “you’re crazy”, “you’ve got a lot of guts”, or “oh my god, be careful”.  when i hear these comments i always wonder why they think it’s dangerous. i don’t think it’s dangerous, i do think it is extremely difficult…. and yeah, i think i am “crazy” for attempting something many people can not even do on mountain bikes.  i think i have “guts” for not giving up, even though every muscle in my body is trembling, my heart rate is well over 180, and i’m sweating so profusely, it looks like i just had water poured over my head.  i don’t think of myself as a dare devil.  i don’t think i am in the same thrill seeker category as base jumpers, fmx, and other adrenalin junkies.  i think i am somewhere around the same category as a rock climber….don’t ask me why, i just think we have a lot in common for some reason.

so one morning before work,  as i sat in my car at the trail head waiting for more daylight…. i began to think.  recently i had read in the news paper that there were mountain lions killing people in california (more specifically mountain bikers).  there had also been mountain lions spotted colorado at the time, but none at this particular trail.  i worried about this for a moment but figured that my odds were pretty low.  i decided to go right then, because i wanted to get to work as a decent hour.  so i took off, and as i entered the trail i passed a sign that i had passed hundreds of times in the past, but this time it kind of stuck in my head.

“beware of mountain lions”

for the next couple of miles that was all i thought about.  as i passed bushes and rocks the thoughts of a mountain lion stalking me began to take over.  the fact that i was breathing extra hard and looked rather vulnerable to a mountain lion, made me even more worried.  what if i did get attacked and even killed that morning? the head lines would probably read:

“Unicyclist Killed by Mountain Lion”

in my imagination i could see mr. public in his robe and coffee reading the paper with his family around the breakfast table.  he shakes his head and says, “shouldn’t have been unicycling”

maybe mr. public was right; i shouldn’t have been unicycling… but most likely, i shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

right before i got ready to ride back to my car, i passed through the company’s kitchen and rifled through the refrigerator.  nothing but some old salad dressing, peanut butter, jelly and some soy milk.  none of it was particularly appealing to me.  i was hungry.  all i had today was a clif bar and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  i thought it was going to be good enough, but as 5:30 rolled around i was famished.

nothing i could do now but go home.   i got my gear together and left out into the cold dark abyss.   as left the dark and empty industrial neighborhood i saw something that i would never really notice on a normal night.   it was the big golden arches.

then it entered my mind…. mc donald’s french fries and a coke.  it was just the first thing that i though of as i passed by.  mmm,  seems kind of like it would hit the spot right about now.   at the time it was just an idea, so i rode on.

as the miles passed the cold started to penetrate my clothing.  the thoughts of warm salty french fries started to infiltrated my short term memory. some how every though i had involved french fries.  i though about getting home and having dinner, with french fries.  i though about my lunch and wondered why i didn’t have french fries.  i thought about how happy i would have been if someone bought me french fries for christmas.  i was obsessed.  i couldn’t get those warm salty golden fries out of my mind for anything.

if anything i was so distracted by the thoughts of fries, i didn’t really think about the cold anymore, or the clicking sound my bike was making, the same sound that drove me crazy all morning.  although my mind was distracted, i couldn’t help but notice that the trail was getting tougher and tougher as i got closer to my car.  with each corner i turned i look ahead and thought to my self, “oh fuck, i don’t remember this hill”, or “is this snow getting deeper or what?”.

i eventually made it to my car.   i eventually made it to the near by mc donald’s.  with my bike on top i narrowly made it under the height limit of the drive through.  i don’t know what the hold up was but, man it was taking a long time.  i could smell the food while waiting in line. when my turn came, i ordered a large fries, and a large coke… no ice of course.  waiting waiting.  the guy in front of me had issues with his order…. waiting waiting.  finally i drive up to the window, get my bag and my drink and drive off.  i reached into the bag and grabbed a few, they were nice and warm, almost hot, like they had just come out of the fryer.  i could feel the grains of salt against my finger tips as they went into my mouth.  they were everything i expected and more.  a quick sip of my coke and back to the fries.  i devoured these things in record time.  i don’t think i even made to to the freeway before they were gone.

after finishing my brief indulgence i felt completely satisfied.  almost felt like having a cigarette….if you know what i mean.

recently we’ve been having some pretty cold weather in colorado.  it’s not even winter yet!  as some of you probably already know, and perhaps some people are just now finding out….i ride in very cold weather.   perhaps i shouldn’t, since i already have some permanent skin wounds from a couple years ago. most people that know me in real life, think i’m crazy for riding in below freezing temperatures.  i don’t mind, i kind of like the label “crazy”, better than “cold weather bike rider” or “gutter bunny.”  the reason i do it, is not for the label that goes along with such a feat, i do it because i don’t like being afraid of things, especially weather.  i guess it would be a different story if i didn’t want to do it in the first place.

yesterday i packed all my stuff and drove down to my park-n-ride spot.  even the car drive was cold.  i think the outside temperature was 4F or -16C, but my car heater takes a long time to warm up, so i wasn’t feeling any heat.  i brought plenty of clothes, but most of them were laying on the passenger’s seat next to me.  i parked the car, and gradually put on each layer of clothing as i prepared to go outside. it’s always interesting getting those final layers of clothing on when it’s cold.

i packed my iphone in my jersey pocket making sure the chord wasn’t tangled with zippers or what not.  ran the ear buds up and put them in my ears.  i didn’t turn them on yet, but just having them in my ears started taking the edge off the ambient traffic noise.  i put the balaclava over my head and more noises disappeared.  i began to feel more and more detached from the things around me.  finally the helmet went on and the straps tightened …and for that moment i was totally, but acutely introverted.  i guess you can compare the isolation feeling you get when you submerge yourself in a swimming pool.  i felt like an astronaut at that point.  i couldn’t feel very much through all my layers, thick socks, ski gloves, blocked hearing. i could see perfectly however, with my ski goggles.  as i got on the bike and started moving, i could feel little cold breezes that had found their way through the seams of my clothing.  it felt a little uncomfortable, but i let it go.

as i rode through the snow covered bike path i was the only one.  it felt so smooth and quiet riding along the path with some psychedelic music from the warhols playing through my earbuds.  since it was the bike path i had no cars to worry about, and since it was so cold i had no other bikes to worry about.  my studded tires were gripping the icy patches pretty well, and for the moment, the path was very straight.  the cool breezes were now starting to feel pretty good on my slightly overheated body.   in between songs i could hear myself breathing…and on occasion i could even hear myself talking.  i still felt pretty isolated from my surroundings.  which was kind of weird, because cycling usually brings me closer to the environment around me.  not sure if i enjoy it as much this way, but very interesting none the less.

the only thing that really bothered me were my toes.  i could feel them getting colder and colder with each turn of the pedals.  every now and then i would have to pedal standing up just to try and bring some much needed blood back down to my toes.  this seemed to do the job for now, but i was still less than half of the way to my destination.

as i got further along, i started to feel really good. i was overheating a bit and i hadden’t been drinking any water because my water bottle was frozen solid.  i was sweating like crazy, i could feel my balaclava drenched, and pieces of my face were now feeling really cold.  i started to worry about getting frost bite and damaging more of my already damaged skin.  still, i pressed on since i only had about 4 more miles to go.

i finally got to work drenched in sweat, freezing, and late for a meeting.  i quickly got into the shower and as i removed my shoes, and sock, i could feel the toes starting to burn.  quickly i reached down and squeezed the toes as hard as i could hoping to stop the blood from gushing through… or keep it from doing whatever it was that was causing so much pain.   i am no stranger to this feeling,  i’ve had times when i had to scream in public before just because he pain was so bad.  there was no screaming today, i think the squeezing did the trick.  the shower was much shorter than i wanted, because i was pressured by the fact that i was already late for my meeting.

i was starving most of the day.  riding in the cold causes my metabolism to switch into extra high gear, and there is no hope.  i tried to snack as much as i could and had in a big lunch.  by the time the quitting-hour was bestowed upon me, i was finally content .

the hardest part of any day that i ride to work, is the riding back part.  on cold snowy days the ride home is especially tough.  most of my clothes are still a little damp….including the gloves.  nothing worse than heading out into the cold with wet clothes.  fortunately the clothes that were closest to my body were the driest.

the ride back to my car was similar to the ride in, with the exception of light.  it was completely dark, and all i had was my little led head light to guide me.  talk about total sensory deprivation.  i couldn’t feel the weather, i couldn’t hear anything but my music, and now, i couldn’t even see very much.  kind of a helen keller ride… all i could do is feel the inertia and gravity pulling me along.  my memory tried to fill in the dark parts from my partial vision.

i didn’t plan on it, but it was very much an adrenalin rush. .. for 17.4 miles or 28km i rode through a barely lit, partially plowed, snow covered bike path.  not a person around, next to the river that runs through an ugly industrial part of denver.  there were occasions when i would hit an icy patch on a turn and the bike would slightly drift for a few cm, causing my heart to spike.  i never fell, never really came close, but the thought of falling really kept me gripped the entire time.

so that’s kind of what it’s like for me to ride in the bitter cold.  i have many days ahead to perfect my gear and every year it’s the same.  some days i feel it, and some days i don’t want anything to do with cold weather.

as a parent i’ve seen my kids get hurt and injured right in front of my eyes. when it happens it’s one of the most horrible feelings in the world.  i spend so much energy into keeping them safe, and when they are not safe, i feel kind of like i let my guard down.  sometimes their injury is pretty bad, and sometimes it isn’t bad at all.   from the outside it always looks so painful…but to the child the pain is usually something less than it looks.

in the early years it almost seems like the child had no idea what just happened or how he was supposed to react. the child usually learns right away how much pain he is in by looking at the parent’s expression. we see this all the time; child falls or gets whacked in the head, stands there motionless, looks around, finds an adult with his his jaw on the ground and his eyes popped out from terror…then the drama begins.  to make the situation even more overwhelming the adult/parent will run over and asks in a sympathetic voice, “aw… are you alright sweetheart?”.  at this point the situation has become defcon 1, it’s all over, prepare yourself for long term, loud ear piercing terrifying heart breaking, ambulance calling crowd gathering screams. i’m not trying to say that the pain is not real, but the reaction to it may be a little projected.

i am greatly aware of this phenomenon, and to outsiders i may seem a little flippant when it comes to my child’s injuries. i usually keep a calm facial expression, or mask it with a triumphal surprise. i’ll walk over if i can, and say something like, “whoa that looked harsh, you gonna live dude?” i try to stay cool on the outside, but on the inside i am, “oh no! oh no! oh no! this is bad, this is really really bad!” when someone witnesses my laisser faire parenting, i am perceived as a cold heartless, loathesome, vile, distasteful neanderthal of a human.  this may be true.   i am not trying to make my kids ignore the pain, i just don’t want them to feed the pain.

currently i have an injury that was not caused by trauma. it was not caused by a fall, a blow, a gunshot, or anything external.  i have achilles tendinitis which was caused by good old fashioned “over use”.  it happened on the very last day of my 837Km (520mile) bicycle tour that i did back in mid september. i had some knee issues, and butt issues, but there were no issues from my achilles during that whole week. it seemingly came out of no where. i was devastated when it happened, because i am no stranger to achilles problems.  i had achilles tendinitis long ago when i was on the x-country team in college.  i lost my two remaining seasons of competition because of it.  and now, i am deathly afraid of this injury and the down time it wreaks.  from the moment it happened i tried to nurture its cries. i knew that the mild pain was only a prelude to what was coming next.  i iced it, rested it, massaged it, and stretched. without failure the great pain arrived.  i’ll run or ride my bike a little to test its presence, and each time i do, it reminds me of its great existence.

so i’ve been injury free for about 14 years now. i’ve had some minor issues, like broken toes, stress fracture in the arm, acute knee injuries, but nothing to keep me away from cycling or running for too long. before this period, i would have long term injury after long term injury. even after the injuries were gone, i could still feel them. they never seem to go away.

i attribute my change, to a book i read a long time ago by dr. john sarno, “healing back pain: the mind-body connection”.  back then i didn’t have back pain, and i still don’t, but this guy had a very interesting theory regarding pain and the human body.  as i read his book i began to see parallels to to my own life of chronic running injuries.   i started practicing some of his simple theories and noticed that i could over come little pings and pokes from my legs just by just acknowledging them, treating them and moving on.  yes it does sound pretty simple, but the key for me was to not “feed” the pain.

the human body is incredibly resilient.  the body can mend broken bones in a matter of weeks,  it can heal from disastrous road rash,   it can beat cancer, and so much more.  so why is it that something as small as a sore achilles can linger around for months?  it doesn’t make sense to me given how quickly my body heals from external damage.  to be honest, i think my achilles healed about three weeks ago, but the pain i feel is just from me feeding the pain.  it was really injured at one point and i treated it, now it’s time to move on.

i may sound weird and unorthodox, but i have to learn to treat my injured body parts like i treat my injured kid’s.  so to my poor little achilles who works so hard to get me through life….”you’ll be alright, dude!…now harden the fuck up!”

the day i got my tattoo coincided with the day i thought of getting a tattoo.  i actually had though of getting one before that day, but it was on the same plane as my thoughts of quitting my job and becoming a full time cyclist, or a barista at a coffee house.  in other words the thought was in my head but i didn’t think i was ever going to get one.  i am not having tattoo regrets or anything like that, i’m very much in love with my new body art.  still not sure what others truly think just yet but they will come around.

that morning started out by doing a quick google search for tattoo reviews in denver.  i found a page that had some tattoo shops listed and some stars next to their names.  one actually looked legit, and called to get their hours.  within a couple of hours i was walking through their front doors …alone.  i hadn’t told anyone what i was about to have done, so the whole mission was quite covert.  it was kind of a simple shop with a few guys working there, and most of them had lots of body art, and piercings.  they asked if i could be helped, and i replied, “yes, i’d like to get a tattoo”.

i asked if i could look at some of their portfolios that were stacked high on the counter.  their work was amazing.  there were dragons, swords, snakes, koi fish, naked women [hmm], skulls, and hot rods.  with each tattoo i looked at i tried to imagine it on me, and me at work… then me as an old man with the same tattoo.  i didn’t find anything that really fit me.

one guy asked if knew what i wanted. “yeah, i want a bike!”, i said with the tone that someone would use when talking to santa.   the guy kind of chuckled and ask if i meant a bike with pedals.

i assured him that i was indeed talking about a bicycle, a two wheeled pedal powered, chain driven, handle bar holding, seat sitting, master piece of invention.  he looked confused for a moment and went in the back and brought out doug.  i guess doug was the bike expert, or at least he rode a bike, or maybe he was just good with vague request or something.  doug asked if i had a picture or drawing that we could go with.  i didn’t really bring a picture, because my printer was not working when i left the house.  we ended up surfed their internet and quickly found the image i kind of wanted.  it was basically the “yield for bikes” road sign only doug added custom drop bars for me.

after a few iterations of size and orientation, we finally had the perfect tat.  doug had to draw things up perfectly so he could make a decal that would serve as the blue print for the ink gun.  while this was going on i sat in the back waiting room. this place was pretty nice, it reminded me of a really nice hair salon, only with reclining chair tables and no perm smell.

up to this point i was not nervous at all.  i was anxious to get started so i could get home and surprise everyone.  he finally came back and had me sit across the table and went over some simple house rules before we started.  he explained how the needles are brand new, and that they never ever reuse them. he also told me about other procedures they use insure safety. he also told me how to “tap out” if the pain gets too unbearable…. ha!  like that is going to happen, i told myself.

he shaved a bit of my arm where the tattoo was going to be, and proceeded to apply the decal.  my arm was stretched across the table and i could see the white tender part of my inner forearm stretched smooth with a bike decal stuck to it. he fired up the needle machine and went for the first poke.  it wasn’t extremely painful, but something about watching it being done, along with hearing the sound of the needle gun, some blood mixed with ink coming out…. really felt awful.  i tried to hold a normal conversation at first, but soon i was unable to focus on what i was saying , then i was unable to focus on what he was saying.  i had to close my eyes, and turn my head away from the pain, as if that was any better. i would occasionally get up enough courage to look and see how much more he had to do. i was frequently disappointed at how much more still had to be done. my god! this was taking forever.

after about 45 minutes he was finally done.  my pain quickly subsided when i saw how beautiful it looked.  i really liked it, i got up and stood in the mirror, checking it from different angles…. wow.  doug wrapped it in plastic, gave me detailed instructions on how to take care of it… and out the door i went.

it’s been over a week now and that scabbing has passed. my arm still hurts, but at this point maybe its from something else.

this is on my right forearm. this area was very sensitive, and hurt a bunch while it was getting done. this is the first tattoo in my life. i chose this location so i could see it everyday. right now i love it, and when i’m an octogenarian, it will remind me that i used to love bikes.

i have so many disfigurements from cycling, like my scars, my frost bite burns…and now finally i have a disfigurement that I made!

today was not a particularly difficult day at work, and when 5:30 rolled around, i was packed and ready to roll.  usually i have to peal myself away from what i’m doing and 5:30 turns to 6:00, and 6 turns to 7.  so just as i start getting ready to go, someone decides to have happy hour. count me in!

after an hour or so of non-shop top i remembered that i had rode my bike in, and it was getting late… and i had two awesome beers.  it had been a very active day that included a ride to work and a lunch race/ride.  i didn’t have much to eat except for some “munchies” and a vitamin water. so these two beers were sitting pretty well inside me when i started my journey back to the car.  i set up my lights, and stuffed my bags, and put in my buds and rode off into the dark. now that i think about it, i had my vest with me, but completely forgot about it…hmm.  i wasn’t drunk or anything, but i could feel the beer’s effect as i pedaled harder and harder.

the trail was dark and cool with the after glow of a recently full moon, and lights reflecting on the calm polluted river water.  kind of eerie but cool.  the first time i rode home on the denver bike path in the dark i was a little afraid, but tonight i was much more relaxed.  it was really nice tonight, there was a slight breeze, just enough to keep the bugs out of the air, and not enough to slow me down.  i was spinning lightly and the legs were good and the music was so appropriate.  psychedelic  sounds of the dandy warhols was just unbelievable.  i was in my own world for a brief memorable moment.

i wasn’t really thinking about anything, but i was observing everything.  that’s usually what hapens at night, the senses are higher and not too many things go unnoticed.  i could tell that my headlight were shining backwards…wait what? that wasn’t my headlight, someone was behind me. i turned back to look and could only see one really bright light. for  a moment i thought it might be the trail police [if there is such a thing] trying to catch me because i wasn’t supposed to ride the path at night.  i kind of slowed down a moved to the left to let him pass. as he passed i could see that it was in fact someone training for a triathlon, or something because they had aero bars.  this is not right i hate getting passed by anyone, especially someone with aero bars.  so i switched into a bigger gear and started my chase.

it wasn’t difficult to catch him, but after a short time at maximum lactic threshold, my beer began to work its way back out.  i had to really step it up to keep it down.  but to get dropped by aero bars?  i couldn’t let myself get dropped, and after a couple of times of nearly loosing it, i finally managed to stop thinking about my stomach and focus on the light in front of me.  i could see in the dark distance that he was looking back and trying to accelerate.  each time he looked back i would get a little further behind.  i decided to turn off my head light and ride in the pale moon light.  it worked. in just a minute or two he looked back and then started cruising.  ha ha my evil paln worked to a tee! with one little exception. now i was sprinting and i couldn’t exactly see where i was going.  nothing new for me, i often ride with faulty lighting.

finally i got close enough to him that he could see my tail lights.  by then he knew wasn’t messing with a normal person.  at the next junction, he turned off and never looked back at me.  i kept going for another mile or so at this super fast about to throw up pace.  when i finally let up, i no longer felt the effects from my beers, except for the fact that i was super thirsty.

i love riding  :)