Monday, September 28, 2009

50 miles on a BMX bike.

Yesterday, I entered the Oklahoma Baptist University Bison Classic, in Shawnee, Oklahoma, on my Fit Series 2.5 (equipped with a 44tooth sprocket).

I basically wanted to do the 50 mile ride as a personal challenge, but I also wanted to have some fun with people who take stuff a little too seriously; which is why i entered the race, instead of the ride. Nobody who I talked to on the line really seemed to mind, though I'm sure the vast majority of racers were probably confused as F-word.

An estimated thirty people entered the race. I'm not too sure about that number though, since I was too busy stretching on the front row during staging claiming the Butterfinger Holeshot. Once the announcer said, "GO!" I took off in a dead sprint laughing hysterically as if I were racing the ABA Grands. I gaped the pack by a good ways and lead the first mile.

A few miles later, I received a lot of mixed comments as I was being passed by the racers and just those doing the ride. Things eventually settled in to where I was riding with a group of road bikers who were riding my "bmx pace." I met a lot of interesting folks, including one guy that had to have been a 90 year old WW2 vet who was sporting an American Flag jersey. For some reason he kept telling me I needed a bigger bike.

10 minutes before the first pedal; preparing for the holeshot (first one into the first turn).

As far as the ride goes, I wish I would of put on a different rear cog to get more top end speed. I was actually passing a lot of people going up hills - mostly because they were either old, carrying their children in a wagon, or morbidly obese. Most of them were just doing the 25 mile ride, and the closer we got to that 25 mile mark, the more I passed, which must have been pretty demoralizing lol...

My chain ended up breaking at mile 27. I banged it back together with some rocks and kept going. From there on, it came apart several times in the next ten miles when I would crank hard up hills. Usually though, I would hear a few clicks, look down to see one of my sideplates coming off and then smash it back on with my lucky rock before the chain had a chance to fall off. Lucky Rock only stayed with me for a little while, as I accidentally dropped him while talking on the phone with my buddy.

During the last 13 miles I had a ton of chain problems! I probably had to beat that sucker back together on average 3 times a mile. I probably went two miles at the most with no problems. This actually forced me to lower my energy output, since there was no possible way I could push hard without my chain falling apart. Since I was riding as slow as the people who were struggling just to do the 15 mile ride, or 25 mile ride; I was out on the road alone the last 30 or so miles with nothing but my iPod (and Lucky Rock until we got separated). All the workers pretty much had to stay and wait on me, which I kept apologizing to them for. I soon realized those working the event didn't seem to mind, and in fact, towards the end of the ride I got the feeling they were rooting for me.

In true Hollywood fashion though, with half a mile to go my chain totally disintegrated off my baby blue rocket. I looked down and saw parts of the weak link that was giving me trouble tumbling down the road; so I did what anyone else in my shoes would have done, I said, "Fuck it," and just starting running towards the finish line!

When I rounded the last corner and saw the finish; pretty much everyone there working the event, all my friends, and a few road bikers still on hand were cheering me on. I pretty much did the thing as a personal challenge, but it felt good to get that kind of feedback, even if I finished the "race" in dead last by a few hours. Nearing the finish line though, I hopped on the pedals and vocally dedicated a chainless 180 to fakie rollback across the finish line, "To all the workers whom I made stay extra late."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gladiators of the Current Millennium

Yesterday I opened up the latest Racer-X Illustrated magazine and saw one of the worst crash sequences ever! I was surprised, mostly because I never heard any news about this after it happened on any of the motorcross websites that I check. The rider, Cameron Sinclair, is one of 3 people in the world to ever land a double-backflip on a motorcycle, and the only one that's willing to throw this insane trick down more than once each year at the X-games. The crash sequence listed his injuries: Broken cheek bone, broken shoulder, and head trauma. Several frames from the sequence gave me a pretty good indication at which exact moment these injuries took place. It also made me weak at my stomach. His tests for mild brain damage came back positive, but he is expected to make a full recovery, thankfully. Especially considering Jeremy Lusk's fatal crash earlier this year in Mexico (2008 X-games gold medalist).

In my opinion, I seriously have no ****ing clue what drives these guys to do this. Sure you might score a California trophy wife out of the deal, (or 100 plus 'temporary wives' annually depending on your morals), but the divorce rate is around 95% when you're a paraplegic. Obviously, nobody is holding a gun to their head. I can understand hitting the jumps, and doing what were once progressive tricks that now couldn't even qualify you for a night program, which are relatively low risk. But the stuff these guys have been doing since 2003 puts them in ICU for weeks after one mistake. Ten years ago the worst injury was usually just a broken femur. The level of riding in competitions now requires them to literally risk their lives every time they throw a leg over a motorcycle.

To me, the risk would never be worth the glory in that sport. As a spectator I've always loved and admired watching what they are able to do on a 250lb beast. They are definitely some of the toughest athletes both mentally and physically on the planet, in my opinion. Which is why I believe they are the modern day gladiators - in contrast to those beefcakes you see on the television wearing red, white, and blue spandex whacking each other over the head...

Here is Cameron Sinclair’s double-flip crash from Madrid, Spain:

Here's some guys making art on a 90 foot long leap

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ears or Eyes?

When I was a little kid I was scared to death of being blind. I use to prefer the though of not hearing anything forever, versus not seeing anything forever. I guess things have kind of shifted over the past several years. It would suck, don't get me wrong, but if I ever happen to put both of my eyes out with my Red Ryder B.B. gun, I feel I would adjust nicely thanks to the beauty of music. Hopefully something like that never happens, but if it did, I think I would just spend a lot of time in front of a piano. I love music, and I'm grateful my ears work.

Here are a few songs I've been digging lately:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Preaching Horse in Ada

This is Mr. Ed, the Preaching Horse. He will perform Sunday, Sept. 20, at Ada Baptist Temple, 2120 N. Broadway.

I plan on being there. I'm also going to bring my dog Max. That way he can get witnessed to by another animal. Max has only been alive 4 years, and I still don't think he understands English very well. So, hopefully, Mr. Ed the preaching horse will be able reach Max in a way that us humans can not understand.

Max is going to Heaven!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hero Blog #1: Doug Henry

This is one of my hero's riding a dirt bike for the first time in several years. I had the opportunity to get his autograph at the AMA Supercross in Texas Stadium back in 1995. I don't know why I didn't, I was right next to him. Later that night he went on to win his very first 250cc Supercross main event - in the mud.

About 5 months later he was in the points lead for the AMA National Championship when this happened:

The result was two broken vertebrae. He returned to the same track two years later, only to break both of his arms. The following year though, in 1998, he came back to Budd's Creek (where both wrecks took place) and won both motos. Then followed it up by wrapping up the 1998 AMA Motocross Championship!

Doug raced a few more years, and then retired from motocross. He went on to race super-moto for a few years (super-moto is a hybrid form of motocross and road racing shown in the video below). I recall that he won the X-games in super-moto one year. I was so stoked for him! I had my second chance to meet him right before that. He was actually practicing in Norman, OK at the track right off of I-35. I remember thinking, "wow, that's the first time I've ever seen a super moto bike."

Later that day I got an email about Doug Henry being in Oklahoma, along with a few pics. I was pretty ticked off I didn't stop by to meet him, but at the time I had no idea it was him...

A few years after that (2007 I think?), Doug broke his back again in a super-moto event. This time it was much worse, and he has had trouble trying to walk ever since. I was pretty stoked to see him back on a bike though. But yeah, this guy has been one of my hero's and one of my favorite motocross riders of all time. Not only is his comeback story inspiring, but also his rise to the top story, in which Doug and his wife lived out of the back of a small truck during his early professional years.

Anyways, that is Doug Henry, and he is still a TOTAL BADASS!!! I've always thought that about him, which is why I decided to named my iguana after him, and put one of his Doug's posters in the iguana's aquarium when I was 11 years old.

Circa '98


Friday, September 4, 2009

Top 10 Reasons: Why Republicans Should be Stoked on Barack Hussein Obama!

Lets face it folks. Our mainstream media system (rather an intentional aim or not) appears to rally Republican U.S. Citizens to hate and blame everything on the Democrats, and for the Democrat Citizens to hate and blame everything on the Republicans. Two political ideologies at constant war. When I logged in today my news feeds thankfully informed me that the war is still-a-raging. Friends of real life, and Facebook friends [pretending to be friends] from both the "left" and "right" appeared to have their panties all tied in a knot over the President talking to school children! It must be the topic of today to say the least. And I highly doubt millions of American's would have today's talking point if it wasn't for societies programmers. Who could be responsible for this? I'll place my bet on news organizations like Fox News and MSNBC.

As the old saying goes: Divide and Conquer. Call me crazy, but that's the way I see things. Once you turn off your television, and step back and look at the big picture you begin to notice there is a vast spectrum of overlapping similarities between our two ruling political parties, along with President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush. That may sound like blasphemy to someone like Bill O'Reilly, or Keith Olberman - but it is the truth. Many similarities I chose not to even mention in this top 10 list. Similarities the media mostly ignores, and similarities left out of many political debates. Back on topic, I figured I would shed some light on a few these similarities. I felt the need to share with my fellow Bush/McCain Conservatives of America the similarities I've noticed that keep me feeling safe, and keep my stress levels low, while another president - this time a Democrat obviously - leads the White House in front of the all powerful, and all mighty, Wall Street franchise.

10: Barack Hussein Obama attends church. Now the media may have attacked his pastor for the unacceptable "out of the mainstream political spectrum views" he openly shared, but the fact is, even though President Obama has a Muslim middle name, he does claim to be a committed Christian. Just like George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush Sr., Ronald Reagan etc. etc... "I am a proud Christian who believes deeply in Jesus Christ." - Barack Obama

9: Barack Obama supported Bush's Wall Street bailouts, and started his very own bailout/stimulus package once he was in office. It may not sound very conservative, but it is! Not only did Bush Jr. do it, but the bailouts and stimulus packages are really just trickle down economics on steroids. Tax every citizen 7,000 dollars, give it to the richest sector of the United States. Then just wait for it to trickle down...

8: How about a "moral issue?" Both Obama and Bush agree that marriage is and should remain between one man and one woman. As far back as 2004, Obama said: "Gays ... should not marry." And in a 2007 Senate debate, he said: "I agree with most Americans, with Democrats and Republicans, with Vice President Cheney, with over 2,000 religious leaders of all different beliefs, that decisions about marriage, as they always have, should be left to the states. ... Personally, I do believe that marriage is between a man and a woman."

7: Obama has said the U.S. must "lead the global fight against the AIDS virus." And earlier this year, he encouraged lawmakers to "Use whatever works with AIDS, including teaching abstinence." Obama has given Bush kudos for his efforts to combat global AIDS and the record amount of funding ($15 billion over 5 years) the president has earmarked for the fight. Obama said in September, "I think President Bush -- and many of you here today -- have shown real leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS."

6: Bush is well known for his commitment to the faith-based community -- with initiatives for the poor and on fatherhood -- and he expanded the ability to allow faith-based providers a seat at the funding table. Obama, who has railed against Bush's efforts, has still found a way to embrace them, saying he would "expand" faith-based initiatives. He used his Father's Day speech to echo the president's Fatherhood Initiative.

5: The administration has gone to court to quash challenges to domestic spying, renditions, and CIA torture. Point is, Obama is keeping America safe folks - Bush Style. So Conservative Republicians, it's time to turn those frowns upside down!

4: Obama’s health care “reform.” The centerpiece of his domestic policy has proven to be nothing but a plan, drawn up by the health care and insurance industry, to boost corporate profits by rationing and reducing medical coverage, and paving the way for the dismantling of employer-paid benefits and Medicare and Medicaid. Boosting profits, sound familiar? This is the foundation principle for trickle down economics - something very Republican'ish! Obama is also expected to renounce the “public option” of his health care plan, so don't sweat the nationalized health care. After all, even though the media may have had you convinced this was a decision in the hands of "we the people." It always been, and still is, something in the hands of big wealthy business interests to decide.

3: President Obama has handed over trillions of dollars to the Wall Street banks and is blocking the slightest restrictions on their speculative activities and massive pay packages (Someone can correct me on this if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure this is the same practice under G.W. Bush). Anyways, as a result, the share prices and profits of the banks have increased at the expense of tens of millions of workers. I'm no expert for Fox News or MSNBC, but I think this is exactly what would be happening if John McCain were in office.

2: Though no personal war experience, President Obama is keeping us safer (theoretically) than John McCain, by not only not only keeping U.S. Troops in Iraq, but also expanding military forces in Afghanistan, and Pakistan. During the campaign elections, foreign policy was split with two options: 1) Keep Troops in Iraq, McCain's pledge, and 2) Move forces into Afghanistan, Obama's pledge. Had McCain been elected, we would mostly have our military focus on Iraq. But thanks to President Obama's foreign policy we are currently keeping the homeland safer than ever with troops in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. This is a G.W. Bush foreign policy slam dunk if you ask me!

1: President Obama is blocking any investigation or criminal charges for "supposed" war crimes and violation of international law pressed on members of the previous Bush Administration (damn foreigners). Seriously, can you imagine G.W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld being in some prison cell together right now? I sure can't! If it wasn't for Barack Obama, that very well could be the case! So, conservatives, please, be very thankful for President Obama and his ability to keep our former Republican President and Administration out of harms way, as I am, so they can continue living in the greatest and freest nation on earth - The United States of America!

So, there you have it, folks. A few similarities between the previous Bush Administration, and Obama Administration; along with a few protective measures thrown in as well. Keep in mind there are many more! Noticing that the cup is half full, or that the two ruling parties share many similarities, rather than always focusing on the differences has benefited my stress levels regarding politics. As a result, I hope this enlightenment will benefit your stress levels as well!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Carl Sagan: Pale Blue Dot

"We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known." - Carl Sagan