Friday, January 21, 2011

The Miracle Carwash, Dubuque, Iowa

It was so bright I couldn’t sleep. Across the street from the Hotel there was a building with a great big electric sign, neon in fact. They must have imported it from Texas, because everything’s bigger in Texas. Like Texas toast. That stuff is huge. I couldn’t sleep because the Miracle Carwash was so bright.

I turned on the TV and nothing was on: a commercial for Pajama Jeans; the amazing Magic Bullet food chopper, dicer, and slicer; also a pill that could give you a beach body in two weeks or your money back. I had about given up on basic cable when I came across a guy putting his palm on people’s foreheads, shouting some angry, devil-be-gone stuff, and making them faint. He even made cripple people get up and walk, but it was the way you would expect a cripple person to walk—kind of a hunched, air-swim/crawl sort of thing. The studio audience gasped and I did too. I did, I gasped.

If cripples could walk (sort of) I could sleep, right? I needed to sleep. It would take a miracle, I thought. If only there was a slick-haired televangelist to smack me in the temple, that would do the trick. But the Hotel Julien was too cheap to have a miracle performing, televangelist on staff. I didn’t even need to call down the front desk; I already knew this, but I called just in case. No luck.

I stood up and put my palm to forehead as I had seen the man on TV do. I pushed pretty hard and muttered a few commands: drive the Devil from this man and let him sleep in peace once again. I must have been doing something wrong, because I couldn’t make myself faint no matter how hard I pushed. I noticed (it was hard not to notice because of how bright it was) that the Miracle Carwash was able to perform its phenomena in a way that was touchfree (how this was possible I wasn’t sure, but carwashes sometimes work in mysterious ways). This was the answerer, then. It had to be. It was like a sign from a sign. I put on some socks, tall ones with the stripes; a hat and jacket; and walked down to the front desk where I purchased two rolls of quarters from the lady who was drinking coffee out of a mug with a picture of her wiener dog on it, Poochie.

The fifth time through, the sounds of water jetting against metal became soothing like waves on the ocean, but really loud like you are right by the ocean, maybe sleeping on the beach because you are homeless and you drank a lot of Black Velvet while watching the sunset, comparing its beauty to your shitty life, that you passed out there, the water lapping at you like a dog licks its wounds. Each time through I became drowsier. The sounds of water were putting me to sleep like one of those machines people put in their bedrooms to simulate a waterfall, or a rainforest, or the ocean, but in the carwash there weren’t any whale calls or other strange animal sounds.

I ran out of quarters. I got out of my car and began picking up rocks to throw at the sign that was keeping me awake. Miracles, I decided, were impossible, and I decided to decide this forever. If suddenly Jesus walked up to me and asked if I knew what time it was or if I had change for a five so he could wash his rusty Ford, I would tell him to go jump in a lake. I would ask him why don’t you just make your own change? In between stone throws, I'd tell him I’m busy here, can’t you see. Jesus, being the guy he is, would say let me give you a hand with that. He’d take aim at the flickering, blue Miracle, winding up like a Major League pitcher, releasing with perfect force and timing. The sign would explode, showers of colored sparks snowing down on the both of us.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cold Bear #1

DNF. Broken chain on the late night, last minute, not tested pug build. FYI don't try to reuse the pins on Sham chains, as that is what I did and likely the reason it broke. Nevertheless, by the time of the snap (a half lap to the finish) Brendan was, for the most part, out of sight. I was starting to get more comfortable with the pug though, and was picking up the pace, chasing.

Next weekend I'm heading down to Iowa for the Triple D, a 60+ mile trail race. I did 50 miles on the snowmo trails the other day averaging 14 mph on a 29er SS 38x16. Might be a road race if these conditions hold up. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cold Bear

The Cold Bear Challenge is tough. It is often cold. The trail conditions can be unridable at times. What's more is that some participants push morbidly obese bicycles up the steep and copious hills. Last year I put my blood sweat and tears into the seriess and came out in second place in the advanced category. For my efforts I was rewarded with a cup. However, my prized pint glass/ trophy from the Cold Bear Challenge has broke, shattered into a hundred little pieces. This happened months ago, and I have been mourning ever since, slowly progressing through the five stages of loss. My therapist says I should move on. Maybe I should. No. I can't. I can't move on because I keep stepping on the glass' invisible shards, the ones that scattered into the kitchens corners upon impact, the ones so tiny that not even a broom can sweep them up. A pin prick in the heal every now and then, a cold jolt in a big toe. I dig out these thin shards with a tweezers and hold them up to the light. The tiny reminders shine with my blood. Like I said, the Cold Bear is tough. This time next year I hope to be stepping on first place, pug catagogy shards of glass.

That's right the pug frame I've had hanging on a hook for the last year is coming together. Ben at Milltown Cycles is setting me up with some wheels (White non-trash Darryls). Due to a ordering mix-up with White Industries however, only the front wheel will be ready for tomorrows race. If you need some better wheels for your Mukluk call up Ben. He's got some Darryls on hand, and I'm sure he wont mess up your order. Sponsor plug aside, one of my cohorts may lend me a rear marge. That is if the aforementioned individual has forgotten about my reputation of breaking wheels. I've said too much. Peace out.