Tuesday, December 7, 2010



During the 2002 Vuelta Michael Barry crashed on a tricky decent of of a nameless Spainsh mountain. As the shock and terrible familiarity of the crash set in a race motorcycle rode past and clipped Barry's body as it writhed in pain on the hot Spanish tarmac. Somehow Barry became entangled in the workings of the motorcycle and was dragged some seventy meters before the accident was "done." Barry was obviously hurt as his wounds were far more severe than the typical superficial wounds that a cyclist would obtain during a race crash. Despite the flow of the most awful deep maroon blood Barry searched the road for the remains of Trek Madone. Barry found his obviated full carbon beauty lifeless on the pavement as the team car pulled up to provide medical service and advance Barry to whatever remote Spanish hospital was within closest proximity. Just then something remarkable happened. Barry asked for a new bike off the team car to rejoin the peleton which was already a few kilometers up the road. Against every shred of sanity Barry remounted a fresh Madone and pulled himself inside out to finish the days stage. Barry would abandon the race the following morning but he stayed true to cycling lore and was not left behind. The picture of Barry being administered medical care while in the saddle is in my opinion one of the most profound images in the history of cycling. Never give in, never surrender.

"What if I say I'm not like the other, what if I say I'm not just another one of your plays your the pretender, What if I'll say I'll never surrender.

Foo Fighters...

Without question odd and chaotic chemical reactions occur with mind-numbing speed as shock sets in following an accident. Once the first wave of adrenaline wore off I found myself wanting to let go. I had urge to sleep. Somehow calculating that if I just could nod off for a bit that everything would be alright. Just as I could feel truly deep sleep creeping dangerously close I reestablished control. This was not a good time for autopilot. This was a bad time to pass command to the little men running the backup system. I needed to be there one hundred percent in control. How long would I have slept? Thinking back on that instant I think of Jurassic Park for some odd reason. Sam Jackson cooks up a wild plan that if they shut all the power down for a second that they could reboot the entire park. I think I just needed to be shut down for that second and have the master fuse re primed and flipped. Obviously I'm psyched that I did not have to deal with the raptors as this was all happening but it worked. As the medics packaged my up on West Street I tried to stop them. I did my best to assure them that if they just gave me a few more minutes that I was pretty sure that I would be able to get up and walk away. These were the looks that you got at a fine dinner party when someone makes an off color joke about a sick family member. While they did there best to humor my response the answer was assuredly, no.

While descending the Col du Petit-Saint-Bernare on during stage sixteen of the 2009 Tour De France Jens Voigt suffered a terrifying crash. Voigt slid to a stop face down at fifty mph. The race radios began chirping with the horror of the crash and the mounting fears that the legendary German would perish from his injuries. Team Saxo Bank was devastated and with the thought of loosing one of the sports toughest men. Voigt made his living as a breakaway specialist and long distance roller. Dog earring pages in race books and patiently waiting for the right break to form on the given day was the Voigt m.o. The next three hours would be a lecture in cycling tactics as Voigt had an uncanny ability to know the exact moment to tighten the screw to whittle the breakaway. Inevitably Voigt would work his magic into the final kilometer and put on a display that would make a champion pursuiter proud. Voigt's strength made him an ideal teammate for a grand tour contender. Voigt was a fixture on the front of the peleton logging dizzily mad amounts of hours setting the pace to set up the late day fireworks on the major summit finishes. Voigt is without question a legend. Luckily for the sport Voigt's injuries were pesky for such a hardened man and he would return within two months.

During the 2008 indoor track season Erik Kress was feeling clever and started calling me a one percenter. Erik would go on at length about how Myself and Mary were in the top one percent when it came to what we could do with our bodies. Erik was there in January of 2009 on a Sunday run when suddenly it felt like someone struck me in the lower back with a fifteen pound sledge hammer. I fell to the cold New Hampshire ground and writhed in nauseating pain. Erik was shocked and began calculating how we were going to make it back to his house. I convinced Erik that I was fine and that I would be able to "man-up" for another twenty-minutes. I stammered to my feet and ignored Erik's request to walk and got back into my stride. Ten strides down the road the hammer struck again and I was back on the pavement. Erik seemed sick and disgusted with my obvious stubbornness and unwillingness to cash in the run. Following the second round of debilitating pain, I walked a few paces before adjusting my stride and closing out the remaining miles of the run. What both of us did not know or could not have known was that my sacrum had just broken and that I was now playing a game of runners roulette with every stride. Somewhere at the control panel someone was throwing the override switch. Maybe there isn't a switch and my control panel is just really good at ignoring flashing lights and pretending that they will just go away. Check engine? Gas cap must be loose... ABS light? I'll just go easy on the breaks... Fantastic strategies to ruin a automobile can also apparently ruin bodies. 1%.

Voigt had another high speed crash during this years tour while on the decent of the Col de Peyresourde. While Lance Armstrong was up the road doing his best Voigt impression leading the break, Jens was crashing at nearly fifty mph. Voigt's crash war eerily similar and his injuries were nearly as severe but this time he did not loose consciousness. With both Saxo Bank cars up the road and a destroyed bike it appeared that the Tour would be loosing one of its great strongmen for the second straight year. Voigt refused a ride and wanted desperately to get back into the race. Voigt borrowed a tiny yellow bike with toe-clips and straps from a bystander for the decent where he would be able to meet up with the team car. 1%

Underneath this smile lies everything, all my hopes and anger, pride and shame.
Make myself a pact, shut doors on the past for today, I'm free.
I'll not loose my faith, it's an inside job today...

How I choose to feel is how I am...

Pearl Jam...

I choose life, carpe diem. I want to get back on the horse so bad and just blow the doors off of everything. I want to burn ridiculously fast final intervals and laugh as lactic acid burns in my forehead. I want to destroy training rides and howl with life as I produce massive amounts of watts rolling back into Keene. I want to take on the life of a peregrine falcon and take out the opposition at full flight. I want to sit idle in my resting hours with the knowledge that any of this is possible at any second. I choose to feel the pain that speed inevitably brings.I choose never to surrender in the face of a challenge that forces me against the ropes. I choose to live my life on the outside edge of the 1%. I choose life, forever life.