Yeah. Still here. The big apple.
So, it IS true, Portland has the best espresso. The best bike culture, the best racing scene, the best organic produce, the best coffee shops. What can I say? We are spoiled. At least I know it. I used to think I was this super tough big city kid when I was living in San Francisco. Now I can’t handle all the people and hustle-bustle! Portland has turned me into a softie!
I drove up from Newark, Delaware Monday afternoon and made it to Sarah and Thomas’ house. They have a little apartament in Prospect Heights with our friend Johnny Mayhem in Brooklyn. That is where I am staying. It is all of 4 blocks from Prospect park, a nice little park, closed to traffic most of the time and filled with little footpaths and “forest” trails. It was pouring all day Tuesday and I dutifully hopped on the Vanilla and made it up into the park for a couple hours of sluggish practice. Stairs abound in the park and I made good use.
My old friend Mark Beattie gave me a call and said he would meet me up in the park for a ride. We meet up after it starts raining really hard (I had been riding a couple hours already) and getting cold out. He did not bring his bike, I guess it was farther to go home and get it than to just head straight to the park from his girlfriend’s house.
Mark Beattie was THE person I hung out with when I first got into cross racing. We would scam rides and make our way up to Tacoma and Steliacoom as well as doing the Crusades series races 4 years ago. He let me borrow those Simon Burney cyclocross books for a while and I just devoured them. Mark is a true friend. He was a wrench at the Performance out in Beaverton and at the CCC for a while and would help out in the Veloshop a bunch when I was really struggling. Donating parts and labor ALL the time. He even helped me fanagle a warranty return on a frame I cracked at Mt. Tabor race one year. He was totally pro: had 2 single speed bikes at the races (granted they were frenchy POS bicycles and falling apart all the time) and I thought he was nuts at the time. “Why don’t you just ride with gears? You crazy!” Little did I know…
I got us lost in the park and we eventually met back up at Sarah’s. We walked to Gorilla coffee where I bought him a coffee and we chatted. I remembered that he is one of the founding Veloshop team members too. Mark B, old school, the original pink kit! I think Ira Ryan and Bridgette Stoick are only a couple of the current riders who rocked the scary pink kit.
Wednesday morning, I am putting my spandex on and Sarah’s cat Mimi nuzzles me and then just LAUNCHES up onto my shoulders and refuses to move! I really wanted to put a little leash on Mimi and strut around NYC like a rich old lady walking her cat. She is too cute. I usually don’t wax about kids and animals, sorry.
Once I pryed her off, I rode over the Manhattan bridge and through the city to Central park! Like I was saying before, now I am a total softie. Riding through Manhattan was horrible! There is no way I would be able to handle living in the city. I should have stopped and taken photos of the traffic I had to ride through. It took me an hour and a half to ride from Brooklyn, over the Manhattan bridge and up into Central park! It was pretty funny. I could not handle having to do that everyday to just get some quality training time in.
Once I got into Central park I spun for a few minutes. There were some roadies doing thier thing. Lots of MERLIN bicycles here! The park is packed! There are literally people everywhere! It is hard to find a quiet spot to yourself. Dodging runners and walkers and carriages and piles of horseshit. I really had to pee and it became painfully clear I would have to go home to pee. It has been frigid here. (ok, I get cold when it is 60 degrees out.) It was biting (40 degreesish) and really windy out. So, I turned around. I got a little lost on the way back but, eventually wandered back to the Manhattan bridge and back to the apartament. Took a bath, shaved the legs, headed back out on the subway to Manhattan to meet Sarah for an early dinner.
VP2. That means Vegetarian Paradise 2. Mango mock chicken. Mmmm. Oh, yeah. What is the deal with nobody being Vegan anymore? I feel like I am the only one left. Again, Portland is a veggie haven but, all of my old friends are not living it anymore. In NYC, Portland, wherever! I remember something cute before I left. Erik Tonkin leans over to me and asks, “So you are still Vegan right?” Yep, I am. “Yeah? Make sure you get enough protein. It is important!” It was a sincere gesture of concern. Yes, Vegans are at risk of not getting enough of a lot of nutrients. And before I go on a tirade, yes, most Vegans and vegetarians I know are “bad” vegans. It truly takes effort to eat right. Add being a serious athlete or a really, really busy person to that and it becomes really, REALLY hard to keep on top of a healthy diet.
What is the point? I think it becomes hard (and expensive!) to keep up a healthy vegan lifestyle. Thats got to be the big reason people kinda fade out of the lifestyle. It actually gets tiring and stressful sometimes having to fanagle eating right.
That is why I’ve switched to espresso and cookies. Quick and cheap. Keep you going for days on end.
Ok. I am ending this post. Been working on it for too long.