By: Matthew Karre Jul 4

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And there are those who never try; move on, move up, move out, passing the time easily, quickly. Those that exist in a constant state of Over It, long before “it” has even had the chance to be, let alone the chance for someone to be under it, yet some are over it. Those who just sit back and wonder, peacefully, not engaging but constantly a vital part of creating, unbeknownst to them. Those that dance around as if possessed or perhaps inspired by the small man in the red curtained room, speaking in different tongues, though in hindsight easily deciphered. Those who know and are not what they seem. The owls, just like the owls. Those who delicately ask what has been done recently that could be called creative, as if to say that constant discussion and analysis of cycling is not creative enough. As if to say that ‘she walks in beauty, like the night’ is not an apt metaphor despite that it is but a simile. She walks in beauty, like the night(1); as if better to say ‘She was a phantom of delight, when first she gleam’d upon my sight.’(2) She is the beauty, and the phantom, and most certainly the delight.

And she said, “The route was good. Really good. It reminded me to try to not be over everything.” That moment of clarity is so often a jogging of the memory. Those that have known it all along but have smothered its light; those who exude the essence of why and how, without a second thought as to if or should. These are the people who find the routes, and those that ride them when instructed. And those who find the routes, and then find the other routes.

(1)Lord Byron
(2) William Wordsworth



By: Matthew Karre Jun 13

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I own a time trial bike. And an aero helmet. There I said it. These two items make me feel funny about myself in a few different ways. Firstly, the social stigma of riding a TT bike while not in competition is severe. At that point you are either a triathlete or a rec-triathlete or one of those fools who thinks aero bars are for comfort. Secondly, there is the personal shame of knowing that because I own a TT bike I must ride it, and the only reason to ride it would be to prepare for a race involving a TT bike. Those are known as time trials. Stay with me. Purposefully preparing for a race is also known as training. Outwardly, I’m fully against training. I believe in riding, riding hard, riding with purpose and for a reason, but not training. The word training has been so bastardized and watered down that has lost all meaning. “What type of bike are you looking for, sir?” “Well, something I can ride on training rides, that kind of thing.” “Oh, nice. What are you training for?” “Nothing. I just want to get back in shape.”
About that:

1) To get back in shape implies that you once were in shape
2) It’s not a training ride if you are not training for something. It’s a ride. Rides are great and wonderful and infinitely better than training by all definitions.

“I was out on a training ride yesterday and I found someone’s arm warmer.” Is this a point of pride for folks? Why not just say I was on a ride? If you were truly training you likely wouldn’t have stopped to pick up an arm warmer. Picking up the arm warmer implies a lack of focus and commitment to your training so not only were you probably not training you definitely weren’t training well. You just lost Tuesday Night World’s again. See what your kindness did? Foolish.

But alas, I own a TT bike and for the last several weeks I’ve been riding it at least once a week. Last weekend I raced the TT bike, while wearing the aero helmet, at the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic Stage race. The first race was for seven whole minutes (sadly nearly a minute slower than the winner) and then two days later for 24 minutes (more like two and a half minutes slower this time). Was all the time riding the TT bike prior to the race for naught? Definitely but no. After all, look at the view from the Prologue finish.

In the end, I make no conclusion. I’ll probably always feel funny about myself when out riding the TT bike. My disdain for the word training is probably just a self-fulfilling justification for mediocre results. I’ll always cringe a little when someone says ‘training ride’ or ‘just gettin’ ready for ‘cross.’ I’m a hypersensitive judgmental elitist. Always have been.

Speaking of hypersensitive: imagine having this song in your head for an 84 mile road stage where the pace is too hard to just chat.

The promoters had it playing right before the start of stage one. Phenomenal race. Tortuous song. Pure garbage. Try chasing Ian Boswell up an 8km climb with that swill bouncing around in your thoughts. I shudder to recall the lyrics.


And I feel Fine

By: Matthew Karre May 19

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Well, this is probably my final post here on Embrocation Cycling Journal. It’s been a swell run, and I appreciate the chance to vent a few times. But with the judgement day happening on Saturday May 21, according to a few whacko Christian groups, (Pardon the redundancy. Zing!) like Family Radio, chances are good this rag will be one of the first things to be annihilated by the second coming. It seems like this occasion will be marked by incredible violence and likely a worldwide soundtrack blasting from some celestial boombox. The song, I think, will be operatic with a sad yet powerful string section exaggerating the point. In fact, this scene has already happened. It starred Willem Dafoe in a movie called “Boondock Saints.”

There was a fire fight indeed. Of all the bullets fired in this two minute scene of constant gun-blazing, fully four (4) actually made contact with intended targets. Perhaps they should wear sunglasses with clearer lenses… If all law enforcement had the passion that Dafoe portrays in his role as Agent Smecker, I think crime fighters would have a much better reputation among the bad guys. Such intensity!

In this scene, Il Duce, the Duke, is obviously the second coming of, well, someone, and he is ridding the world, or at least the front lawn of this house, of, well, something. A rapture. Appropriately, Il Duce is played by an actor named Billy Connolly. He’s an Irish fellow hired by Italians to “take care of” made men in Boston. Connolly played the teacher in the later half of what television show from the late 80’s and early 90’s? Hint, other character names include Arvid Arbuckle and a fat guy named Dennis.

Lengthy non-sequitur complete.

What bums me out most about the end of the world as we know it is that I’m suffering from a bit of nasal and chest congestion. I can handle the sinus stuffiness just fine but when it gets in the lungs it’s just annoying. You’re not supposed to ride, and when you do you can’t do anything because any deep breath results in sharp pain followed by relentless coughing and hacking of yellow goop. Not the last thing I want to be doing before the ship sails! Today was better than the last two days, though. I was able to ride in 70 degree weather with my mates up a phenomenal gravel climb known as Dixie Mountain Road.

I speak of this road frequently as it is deserving of praise and mention. On the way over to Dixie, we rode through Bird Land and the birds were en forme. The peacocks sang, the guinea fowl scurried in small groups, the two dogs (I know, not birds, but they live at Bird Land) came out to say hi, and most notably, the two turkeys made their presence known like never before.

Untitled from Matt Karre on Vimeo.

Please excuse the fowl language (get it?) and silly commentary. The action is worthy, as one turkey pecks at my thigh. Perhaps he doesn’t appreciate Rapha? Not sure. Now I probably have avian flu in addition to a minor cold. It really is the end of the world. I say good day.

This, too, may be sarcasm.


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