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photo by Ethan Furniss

2011 Best of List.
• Being able to say “This year, it goes to 11
• See #1. What more do you need?

I missed my chance to put together my own 2010 year-in-review. I had opportunity to throw my hat in the ring with some of the best bloggers and cultural critics that world has ever known. There are a few Lo-Fi IT band singles I wanted to pass on, and of course I was planning on putting together an exhaustive list of the best 2010 Celebrity Tweets, but that bird has flown. That white dove, the once promising hope of 2010 — now sullied and dirtied by time — takes its leave, struggling against the prevailing winds of time on plumage once pure, now the wet and ashy white of a roadside snow. In its place a new hope takes flight, spreading its powerful yet naïve wings a chance for all of us to be born again. Let us attach our aspirations to this green infantile year, this is the year that everything changes, this is the year that EVERYTHING changes.

New years resolutions are a thing to consider, though I am not a person who pours himself a new slab of concrete on New Years Day. A first slab that my foot would rest upon each time I venture out of my home. The slab, that as it dries, I set upon with a porcelain letter opener, a letter opener that has been passed down through 5 generations of von Hoetzendorff men, carving the strict canon for the coming year so that never shall I exit my abode with out the stone reminder of my annual responsibilities. I am not the man you will see guarding such an etched and drying testament from the petty vandalism of the neighborhood delinquents, pepper spray at the ready while I sit quiet in the bitter winter air, tense in my camp chair, sipping a thimble of sherry, waiting for mineral and time to conspire in the no less than alchemical process that will create the years testament. Nor am I the kind of person you will find amidst a pile of slag and scree, the dim weight of a sledgehammer in hand, gasping between bouts of fury and sobs of both joy and despair, demolishing the obsolete aspirations of a year passed. That is not me, I am not that guy, I do not even know that guy. I do not know how to pour concrete.

My resolutions tend towards the theoretical, each relying upon a varying amount of if/then conditionals to bring about their fulfillments with each of these conditionals determined abstractly by their predecessor. The inception of these logic chains I can only loosely claim as my own, if claim them at all and in this way my resolutions have some inherent wiggle room. They exist on a continuum and at the end of the year I step invigorated into the eye of the next annum, buoyed by my accomplishments.

I have my moments of doubt, the sliding scale type of resolution has a terrifying backhand and what once seemed completely manageable can — in a blink of an eye — rear back on hind legs and punch with animal abandon. To get it across another way, the best resolutions are the ones where all angles are covered. Where the ins and outs have all been accounted for. Where from day one you know what you stand to lose. You might say I am hedging my bets and I would agree, this is my new year. Like a born again fresh out of rehab after running his thirties through a hand cranked washing machine of virtual self-immolation.

On the first of the year we are all given a fresh start.

With that in mind I have put together a list of humble resolutions. If you are inspired in some way by these remember we all have different criteria for what we can accomplish. For most of you, what I have set out to do this year is simply unattainable. It is ok, your eyes are just too big, and through the virtue of my limitless magnanimity I have set out to warn you ahead of time. In short — here are my 7 for 11.

• Submit the currency redesigns the Treasury Department has been pestering me about.

• Finish Pi

• Climb Mt Everest, the right way.

• Convince the Bald Eagles who roost in my backyard that the rest of the world needs their splendor.

• Try to have an appreciation for what it is like to play below the rim.

• Find the words to describe the subtleties of each and every color to a blind person.

• Find some ME time.



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It is Cyclocross season and I would be a liar if I said I didn’t want to just go out there and kick everyone’s ass, yet the reality of the situation must be acknowledged and while I suspect there may be a few asses out there that may be kicked by your humble narrator I am afraid that count will be much too pitiful to consider said kicking universal, in substitute I offer you a piece of fantasy riffage.

Immediately after writing the word riffage, I quit word processing and briefly turn my attention to World of Warcraft. Of course my strategy was working perfectly, Genghis Khan meets Erwin Rommel, and my Elvin mercenaries are dismembering the best paladins a 13 year old named Kevin P. from Erie, IN had to offer. His players look like casualties from a IED made of piranhas and rusted razor blades; needless to say things were well in hand. I fielded an IM from the president of Kiva asking for more advice on how first world entities can help to provide agency to individuals in the third world. We again went over the steps needed to better help to facilitate an enriched life experience across the globe, it would be better if he just had me run the foundation, but I helped the poor man, and honestly I just don’t have the time.

Knowing that I had to race in the morning I set about getting drunk on Goldschlager, the pleasure of either vomiting or defecating hints of gold never fails to titillate. As part of my pre-race ritual, Master P’s seminal album Ghetto D banged through both the deck and underwater speakers of my infinity pool. In the morning my memories will dead-end in a Heidi Fleiss arranged meet and great where I am dressed like Dumb Donald from Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, my eyes swimming through the fuzz of a well worn beanie, toque to those joining us from the great white north.

The next morning I start off by handily trouncing all comers in the single speed category. Just because I turned up in my street shoes and jeans doesn’t stop me from walking away with the race, nor does the fact that I washed down the previous night’s Goldschlager binge with a potent mixture of Old Overholt whiskey and Milkway Dark candy bars. At the finish I turn around and ride back to the second place guy only to shadow him while offering pieces of advice and noting the points during the race where I couldn’t believe how good I was feeling. I recognize that this guy still needs to finish his race, that he is doing his best to look fit, that the drool lines running through the mud on the sides of his mouth weren’t just something picked up out of Fangoria but the actual drool lines of someone trying so hard to catch you that he has let himself regress to the realm of the infantile, and in front of all these people who have come to see me race. I reach out, offering to help push him to the line, “Come on,” I say under my breath “no one will notice, you look tired.” At my touch I can feel his spirit crumble so I leave him in the wet mire of the back straight and I sprint back across the finish line to another round of awe and applause. The race officials know that I am the real reason people have bothered to show up at their little race in the first place so the let me get away with these small acts of self indulgence.

I have about an hour to kill before the pro race, I don’t even know if I am going to put on my kit. Why? I go hang out in the back of my Audi station wagon and update my status on Facebook, “Gods gift” it reads so I change it to “if I were God’s son he wouldn’t have let me die on the cross” and then I answer those emails from Kanye. I wasn’t able to take his call last night, I am sure he is going to ask me what I think about his new lyrics. I tell you, I have to handle him with kitten gloves. People stop by the wagon, most are too star struck to chat and end up pushing their children forward for me to sign. I keep permanent makers around so that the kids can leave with my John Hancock scribbled across their forehead. If they show up with their wives or girlfriends, it almost always gets a little awkward; the women wanting to just hang around asking me questions about my thoughts and body – I am used to it. And the men really don’t know what to do so I eventually just shoo them on with a wave of the wrist and a cheery but curt, “see yah.” I have had a few threats sent my way but Royce Gracie was a neighbor of mine for a while and I picked up a thing or two from him, so I am not worried about these dudes and their goatees.

It’s about this time that the droning whir of trainers reach a fever pitch, these guys warming up for second place or whatever, it’s their prerogative. I decide that maybe I should walk around the course in order to tell the photographers where to stand in order to get the best possible shot of me. Usually I like to have them shoot me railing through a corner or throwing a rooster tail that would make the Miss Budweiser hydroplane blush, something that will look good on a poster or billboard. I learned this when riding for Red Bull – how to set up the shot and how to get paid – now I ride for Virgin Airlines. Richard said he sees something of himself in me, we are planning on trying for the balloon circumnavigation again next year. I will probably write a memoir while in the process.

I decide it is best that I wear my team kit while racing, and while I slip in to the tight silken one piece known in our field as a skin suit* I can’t help but notice how amazing my legs look under the fabric. It’s as if a pack of wolves were trapped under the delicate cloth of a parachute; it’s as if God had sent these legs to earth in order to show the world how Michelangelo should have carved David’s legs but was more than likely unable to, it’s as if the tight lycra was the cloak over some hybrid Medusas, the snakes coiled tight and rather than turn anyone who sees them to stone they simply break everyone that comes to challenge them. I spend so much time flexing my legs, transfixed by their beauty, that I only snap out of the trance when the screeching start whistle sounds.

My bikes are always ready. I have a young mute that was given to me by King Abdul-Aziz himself, the mute cares for nothing other than keeping my bicycles working perfectly. I feed him a mash of peanut butter, brown rice, honey, and RC Cola. He looks at me with depthless black eyes as I slide my shoes on and mount my bicycle. Starting a half lap back in a six-lap race would normally not be a problem, and it isn’t this time. Within the first ten minutes I have caught the leaders and I start putting on a clinic, sometimes bunny hopping barriers, sometimes doing wheelies through the sand sections of the course. I don’t flat, I don’t fall, I just win. WIN WIN WIN. Of course there are a few guys out there that I should worry about, but none of them bothered to show up to race, and why should they? They don’t race bicycles. The guys I am worried about trade rare earth metals and own islands. If I were a lesser man I might care about explaining to them why I still race, I am not and they don’t care, we all have shit we just do and as it turns out I just happen to be very, very good at everything I do.

*I always think of the movie Silence of the Lambs when I hear this phrase


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