31 August 2005

Ghost Reveries

Now in stores is the new Opeth album, Ghost Reveries. Reviews are rave for this incredible death metal band, and not your usual death metal band, either. I see (and hear) a lot of comparisons to Pink Floyd and Led Zepplin... excellent stuff if you've yet to hear them!

I'm not quite sure how to put it into words, so be sure and read the reviews at CDNow.com! Even if you do not normally listen or even like metal, you have to give this a chance.



The damage and devastation in Louisianna and Mississippi is mind numbing. I don't think I or most people are capable of comprehending how much power this storm unleashed upon the Southeast coast. The amount of water, the strength of the wind and the shear power of Mother Nature is incredible. So much that we build and create can be destroyed so quickly and easily.

USA Cycling Backs Lance

The plot thickens like frozen urine... I'm still not sure if this is a case of the French being a bunch of stuck-up ninnies, or a case of an athlete taking advantage of the system. I still contend that even if he was on EPO in 1999, he still won six straight tours without it...

I guess what gets me is how silly all this really is in the grand scheme of things. Is L'Euipe simply trying to sell more papers? Was Lance doping on EPO for his first win? Does any of it really matter since it was 7 years ago and the findings have absolutely zero implications in terms of legal action against Lance? The standards set forth by various organizations have been ignored and the whole scene more or less made a mockery, in my opinion.

Oh well, life goes on and this will all eventually be swept under the rug.

30 August 2005

Welcome to F---ing.

"We will not stand for the F---ing signs being removed," the officer told the broadsheet.

I cannot believe this story about F---ing is actually real, but if I were a resident of the little Austrian hamlet of F---ing, I'd be pretty pissed off as well. Actually, I might be quite happy...

My Worldly Concerns

It is really nice when the extent of one's worldly concerns revolve mostly around which hobby or hobbies to pursue more than others. Money is fine, the job is fine... I'm not career oriented so worrying about where my job is headed or which promotion is going to come up next is the furthest thing from my mind. I'm here, I do my job and they seem to like what I'm doing so I can't complain.

Hobbies... I raced karts, cars and motorcycles (at seperate times) for 17 years before finally hanging up the helmet and deciding that there are other things I wish to try my hand at before falling deeper and deeper into debt at the wheel of a car or behind the bars of a motorcycle. I now find myself with a love for exhausting myself physically. Cycling, swimming, running and rock climbing all accomplish this task and since I push myself fairly hard in each I find there is no end to the limitations of my body. I detest giving up and will claw my way up a crag or hammer my way through miles on the bicycle until all usable energy has been tapped and expended.

Skydiving a few weeks ago was an incredible experience and one I would like to repeat, but as it stands I'm now thinking that the costs of entry are roughly equivalent to either paying off my existing debt or building another bicycle... building another bike is certainly a more entertaiing option as it allows me to either evolve my current passion for road riding or expand into mountain or track bikes. Mountain would be more intelligent in the long run as I imagine track events would get boring after a year or two. Building another road bike would also be fun, especially if I went with a carbon or titanium frameset to replace the aluminum Pinarello.

Isn't this great?! While other people worry needlessly about cashflow, career woes and debt consolidation... I through all three to the wind and concentrate almost exclusively on whatever will redice my stress the most and allow me to have the most fun! I'll work until I'm dead but I'll have fun along the way. I hope. Your thoughts?

29 August 2005

Getting Out

Well, looks like whatever I am currently doing to meet members of the opposite sex is not working. I've involved myself in a variety of athletics, clubs and disciplines but none of these activities have yielded any results. By and large the women I've met cycling are older and have a kid, which would not normally pose an issue aside from the fact that I don't like children and children don't like me. It is an amicable issue and we seem to agree, on a molecular level, that neither entity will ever have anything to do with the other. At least willingly.

But I digress. Rock climbing tends to draw mostly men, and the women I have encountered have turned out to be either attached to someone else or simply not on the market. No bother, they make for good climbers and climbing partners and that's fine with me.

So, to solve this problem of having no real social life to speak of outside of all the athletics I'm involved with... Sgt. D and I have decided to go out on the town Saturday night and make the most of what we already know are good karma and vibes. We're both convinced that we have a lot to offer and we're both convinced that we can easily bag a cute gal with a great personality, if only we could find them and commence conversation with them.

In so deciding I immediately realized that I had a little problem. Being out of the loop and not caring about bars or clubs for the better part of three years has more or less rendered me useless when it comes to knowing where to go. We surmised that Uptown would suffice, but where? Uptown is a fairly posh area of Dallas that serves as a hub for snobbery, prentention and an laughable amount of senseless posturing. We are, by and large, completely adverse to this sort of behaviour but at this point of our young lives we figure that if you can't beat 'em, you might as well join 'em. Not the pretentious part, but at the very least we'll have a ton of drunken fodder from which to pull material, and this is always a plus.

The other ideas were Addison and Lower Greenville, but we'll save those for future weekends. In the meantime I needed to tend to the task at hand. Identify a bar to visit. Also on the cards is what to wear, or what not to wear when going out on the town. My biggest fear at the moment is looking gay... with any luck I also won't look like the lackey I am. More to come, I am sure.

Back in the U.S.A.

On September 1 my friend Rogge is returning to the U.S.A. from a 1 year (or so) hiatus in Germany for the purposes of higher education. He is now returning to the US of A to seek employment and attempt to bring himself back into the ranks of the American Tax Payer. He'll be a welcome addition to the denizens of tools located in my own home city, but there is some concern about his ability to drop back into society and seamlessly meld himself back into American Society.

I figure he'll be fine, but you can look at his blog (assuming you aren't him, and you are reading this stupid thing) and provide any advice you'd like to encourage his return to the US o' A.

A Nice Day in Hell

The 2005 Hotter 'n Hell Hundred, Saturday August 27th.

I like pickles. Really, I do. I like pickles on hamburgers and I like pickles with a club sandwich. I do not, however, like pickle juice. For me, drinking pickle juice is probably very closely associated to the way a vampire feels when drinking catsup. Despite the fact that it contains a wealth of potassium and salt, both of being vital for replenishing lost fluids and minerals in your body during a long ride, pickle juice is not the type of thing I will look forward to in the future.

My goal time for the event was a 4:45, and I nearly made it. Depending on how you figure it, I probably made my goal time because the bottle neck for an accident at the 30-35 mile mark was bad enough to drop me about 5-8 minutes off my pace. Walking the bike ran the computer, so with time ticking on the cycle computer I was assured a slower than actual time.


The weekend started off great. I had lunch at IHOP (Garden Omelet) with a woman from Arkansas that I managed to meet randomly at the restaurant. Meandered through the mass consumerism show, helped my bike karma by donating to the Texas Bicycle Coalition and took advantage of discount pricing on a new front tire to replace the aging and cracked Continental I had been running.

Friday night there was some question as to where we were staying. Holly (our host in Wichita Falls) called to say that her house’s A/C had gone out and we were welcome to stay at her mother-in-law’s house if we wanted. I accepted the offer and thought everything would be fine, until Martin called and said he had a line on a Ramada Inn that we could split 3 or 4 ways with someone else. After calling Holly and declining the room, we found out that the Ramada was not going to work out and we would still need to stay with Holly… A few phone calls later and we still had a free place to stay, but it was looking for awhile there that we’d end up sleeping in the car!


Saturday morning went nice and smooth. We arrived at the staging area with plenty of time to spare and I got the bike set-up to support my 5 hour endeavor. To do so I mounted Clif Shots and Power Gels to the stem. By taping the packets to the bike I would save valuable jersey pocket space for an extra water bottle and the 6 Clif bars I was stowing for usable energy on the ride. It also allows you to simply reach down and snap the gel off the bike and ingest it quickly without fumbling about to open the packet while in a pace line or pack of riders.

Prior to race start I managed to locate a large group of riders from GDB. We planned on starting as a pack but knew we’d never keep it together for long. It didn’t take more than a few miles for the bulk of the field to get sorted out and I found myself in a nice pace line of about 12 riders. We were making good time, but fighting with a variety of idiots that refused to cooperate with the concept of one for all.

For most riders taking advantage of the pace line is done quickly, but taking the incentive to pull the line when it is your turn is avoided at all costs. More than once I found myself with only a short recovery before needing to lead the line and push the pace to my liking, and this despite having anywhere from 6 to 15 riders in the line! There were times when we were pushing the pace to 24 and 25 mph for 10 and 15 miles at a stretch, but by and large we kept it sane. Most of the riders that pushed hard and paced ahead of us could be seen on the side of the road at multiple rest stations, or riding obscenely slow paces by the end of the event. I was gunning for a 22mph pace over the full 100 miles and in the end I fell just short of this goal, but I’m quite happy with the overall results.
  • Goal Time: 4h 45m 00s
  • Weather: Mixed sun w/overcast and rain
  • Wind: 5-10 mph
  • Total Mileage: 102 mi
  • Total Time: 4h 51m 04s
  • Average Speed: ~21 mph
  • Planned Stops: 1 (80 mile rest station)
  • Unplanned Stops: 1 (Bottleneck for accident at 35 mi)
  • Water consumed: 230 oz
  • Clif Bars: 3
  • Clif Shot: 2
  • PowerGel: 2
  • Apples: 3
  • Oranges: 2
  • Pickle Juice: 6 eye-crossing oz

26 August 2005

I'm a softie...

I'm a real softie and thought this picture made things in Iraq seem a little bit more human. I still don't understand the concept of war in regard to resolving this sort of situation, but I suppose if I did I'd be a Republican.

I know, I know... Saddam was killing his people and perhaps stood as a threat to our interests both political and economic, but it still seems pointless to me. Especially after the WMD (lack thereof) reports and the obvious fact that our way of doing things is completely different to their's.

I'm still not sure why what we do is "right" and what they do is "wrong" since it is a part of their culture, but ok. Kill, kill, kill...

Hotter 'n Hell Hundred

The Hotter 'n Hell Hundred is this weekend so I'm taking a half-day here at the office. It is about 3 hours out to Wichita Falls, TX but the drive should go smoothly and quickly since I've got a ton of good metal to listen to on the drive out!

Here's a photo from the first MS150 ride of the year from Austin to Houston. This is the finish after 180 miles of hard riding. I was pretty releived to be done with the ride, but felt really good (surprisingly) for having done a full century on day one and 80 miles on day two... Hopefully I'll feel this good after the HHH.

I'm hoping to be smart about my ride. I'd like to set a nice pace, perhaps 22 mph in a pace line, and ride out the event. I imagine I'll need to stop once for resupply of water but I'll have enough PowerBars and goo with me to power me through the event.

I've teamed up with Martin H. for a place to say in Wichita Falls. We called the Chamber of Commerce and they gave me a list of people who are kind enough to welcome us into their homes for an evening so we can do the ride.

Rest assured I'll providea reasonable account of what happened, and with any luck it will not detail the use of an IV at the triage tent set-up after the ride...

25 August 2005

Some Changes

I don't actually know who is looking at this thing, or who will happen to run across it in the future, but I've been making a lot of changes to my Blog recently, hopefully they are welcome.

Most of what I've done is adding new links and a new streaming music area on the right side, under the speaker icon. I've found that my days pass much easier if I can listen to good trance, so I thought some of you might benefit as well. As I find more good streaming stations I'll add them to the list, or if you have suggestions please feel free to send them my way.

In the future I'd like to think I can formulate some sort of content that will make this a weekly destination for some of you, but that could be a blue dream. Perhaps a running commentary on the most recent F1 and MotoGP testing & races? Perhaps acting as nothing more than a source of news concerning other interests of mine (and hopefully yours) like climbing and cycling? I don't know. Suggestions are welcome.


Last week I saw a news story that enlightened startled Americans to the growing realization that the movies being released into theaters, by and large, suck. See, the movie studios are blaming movie theaters for the lack of hard eanred dollars being spent at the theater. This has been going on for months and the movie theater owners finally shot back by letting the productions companies know that this drop in revenue has nothing to do with uncomfortable seating or floors sticky with Coke syrup. No, in fact, the reason for lost revenue is because nearly ever movie being released is an abomonation and an insult.

I could not agree more. It takes a lot for me to go see a movie these days. Actually, it takes a lot for me to sit down with a rented movie, but that's beyond the point. The $8.25 I might spend on a flick is more than 2/3 of a trip to an indoor rock climbing gym. $8.25 will also buy me a Freebird burrito or a fantastic novel at Half Price Books.

The last good movie I saw was Batman Begins. Before that? I don't remember. Maybe Lemony Snickett or something... I honestly cannot remember. Most movies don't intrigue me but Batman Begins caught my attention and I actually saw it twice in the theater. Why? I don't know, something about it just spoke to me and I enjoyed completely. Aside from that I've visited my local cineplex a few times and been sorely disappointed with each and every visit.

If movie moguls want my bucks they're going to have to do better than reviving shitty 70's TV shows and humor so deep in the toilet yet lacking in depth that a 14-year-old finds it repulsive. C'mon folks, you can do better than that... and if you can't, step aside and let someone else do the job.

I find this annoying

rant on
Ok, I can admit it, I read a dating blog. Generally it is rather amusing and leaves little things in the back of my mind to consider and ponder over. However, I am finding that if a persons wants to dole out dating advice, hey or she does not necessarily need to go to Dating Blog School for a degree in such activities. The blog in question is from a chic calling herself Moxie and she dispenses dating advice through her blog by talking about her own "relationship" as well as answering questions from readers.

Over the last few months I have found that Moxie is full of resentment and contempt. She seems to think that every person who writes her a question, especially guys, needs to lower their standards or resolves some latent childhood issue that is giving them a false sense of reality...

A day or two ago she ranted about how her current boyfriend, Patrick, had become jealous because she was talking to her friend Charlie on the telephone too much. Being an old friend she couldn't see why Charlie, a married man, would pose any threat. My first thought was that Patrick was being a little snot. There's nothing wrong with having friends of the opposite sex and just because you do doesn't mean you'll be jumping in bed with them. But...

Someone commented and pointed out that this was the same Charlie that Moxie had previously been having lost of phone sex with, while he was married. That changes things in my mind and certainly opens up an element of distrust. The poster proved his point with excerpts from past blog entries detailing the situation and it was more than obvious that had she been given the opportunity to jump in bed with the guy, she would have done so without question. But, the fact that he now calls her at 7AM, and no less than 10 times a week "just to chat" does not occur to her as being unusual. Why are people so daft? And which Sally Struthers degree do I need to posses enable to become qualified to dole out dating advice on the Internet?


Today she decided to complain about other dating blogs on which the blogger cannot seem to identify their own issues, how other dating blogs are about nothing but sex and how these get so old and boring... Of course, people comment and immediately offer emotional support, for which she was obviously begging, but all the while I'm left thinking, "Wait... all Moxie talks about is sex and she can't seem to identify her own issues, either..." so it is nothing more than a case of not being able to take a step back and see yourself for what you are, and despising others for something you yourself are guilty of doing.

Hopefully, I'll never stoop that low, but I'm sure I have already.
rant off

24 August 2005

Was Armstrong Doping in 1999?

There are a lot of things about this article that piss me off. The fact that L'Equipe has been after Armstrong since he first won the world championships and started racing the tour is one reason to be concerned about their quality of investgative reporting.

"For the first time — and these are no longer rumors or insinuations, these are proven scientific facts — someone has shown me that in 1999, Armstrong had a banned substance called EPO in his body," Leblanc told the paper.

Given the way the rest of the article reads, I'm not sure how Mr. LeBlanc has come to this conclusion. In my opinion, there are a number of things that raise red flags...

Five-time cycling champion Miguel Indurain said he couldn't understand why scientists would use samples from the 1999 Tour for their tests.
"That seems bizarre, and I don't know who would have the authorization to do it," he told L'Equipe. "I don't even know if it's legal to keep these samples."

And later...

Separately, the lab said it could not confirm that the positive results were Armstrong's. It noted that the samples were anonymous, bearing only a six-digit number to identify the rider, and could not be matched with the name of any one cyclist.

However, L'Equipe said it was able to make the match.

On one side of a page Tuesday, it showed what it claimed were the results of EPO tests from anonymous riders used for lab research. On the other, it showed Armstrong's medical certificates, signed by doctors and riders after doping tests — and bearing the same identifying number printed on the results.

This seems a bit too easy. I'm wondering how L'Equipe came up with these documents. Also, would it not be quite easy to doctor these papers to show what you want to see? And finally, in terms of L'Equipe's credability...

The paper often questioned Armstrong's clean record and frequently took jabs at him — portraying him as too arrogant, too corporate and too good to be real.

"Never to such an extent, probably, has the departure of a champion been welcomed with such widespread relief," the paper griped the day after Armstrong won his seventh straight Tour win and retired from cycling.

Something else that comes to my mind is the fact that if he was doping in 1999, and even if he was doping in 2000, that still leaves him with 5 straight wins at the Tour de France from 2001 until 2005... Each of those years he essentially crushed his competition, and won other tours besides the primary in France. If 1999 and 2000 were the only years he had won, this would be more believable because he would not have been able to keep up this type of performance without the doping agent. However, seeing as how he was able to win the tour in later years without EPO, or other doping agents, should say a lot for his own abilities and credability.

I am of the firm opinion that Lance is just a rare breed of athlete, he was an anamoly.

Article: By ANGELA DOLAND, Associated Press Writer

23 August 2005

An Overview of 2005

2005 has produced far more solid results, in regard to hobbies, than 2004. Thus far I have yet to break any bones (knock on wood), destroy any motorcycles or discover that I am dating any soul-less slutty bitches. All of which, I must admit, has brought me some relief.

I began my year recovering from November's 100+ mph boo-boo's and decided to make a run on the first MS150 bicycle ride of year, taking place in April. The event would traverse 180 miles from Houston to Austin with an overnight stop in LeGrange, TX at the 100 mile mark. A wealth of great friends supported my efforts and donated money to the Multiple Sclerosis Society so that I could meet the minimum requirement and take part in the event. I cannot thank them enough. Over 12,000 cyclists took part in the ride!

Shortly after that first ride I was asked to take part in the second MS ride of the year by several friends who expressed great interest in seeing me complete another event for the benefit of their own friends suffering from the horrible effects of MS. While I had not anticipated this ride or second fund raising goal, I made the effort to raise funds and was able to ride again, this time from Dallas to Ardmore, OK. This second event was 160 miles of headwind and rolling hills and featured nearly 3,000 cyclists.

At the end of May, following the MS ride and just prior to a vacation at the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I purchased a new car. This is important only because I was now replacing my aged, decrepit and severely beaten 1996 Plymouth Neon. The poor thing had nearly, or perhaps over, 200,000 miles on the odometer (we'll never know b/c the odo stopped working on a regular basis three years ago) and had seen almost every contiguous state in the union. It had also been wrecked once, gotten a new cylinder head and been attacked by numerous dogs. The paint was gone, it had one hubcap left and it looked completely uninsured.

Enter, now, the Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec-V. With 180HP and 175 lb ft of
torque, the little Sentra really likes to beat the snot out of Civic Si's. It also enjoys eating up pavement in clover leafs, roundabouts and has a healthy diet of possum & armadillo. Since May 16th or so I have managed to pile no less than 7070 miles on the car (as of this posting) by way of hobbies and adventures confined to the state of Texas. I am hoping to show it the open road later this year and perhaps a nice view of some mountains unless my sister guilts me into visiting her in a great city to the north.

Delving further still into 2005 I found myself with another new hobby. Rock climbing... I'm not very good at rock climbing, mostly because I've only done it 10 or 12 times since April, but I do enjoy it and decided that sucking at it is just a part of my life. It is, beyond all else, a great reason to get beat up while being outside. Jamming one's feet, arms, hands and fingers inside cracks and crevices in the hopes of not falling off a rocky surface has proven to be quite exhilirating and, at times, somewhat painful. It is an exhausting hobby, and this is a very good thing for me.

I have also been doing a fair amount of swimming recently. I have found that lifting weights at the gym is mind numbingly boring and suited for those who spend more time looking in the mirror than actually lifting a precisely measure chunk of lead over their head. In fact, the only reason I go to the gym is to work my abs and my back, look at girls and swim laps. I've been swimming about 3 miles per week (split as 1 mile every other day) and I feel great. Well, seeing as how I was now cycling and swimming, I figured I'd try jogging as well. I have found running/jogging to be very... painful. I like waking up early and getting in a few miles prior to work, but feeling like my legs are on fire is not very cool. However, seeing as how I have now taken up these three sports, I've been playing with the idea of doing a triathlon.

It also seems like a nice way to meet athletic chics, and that's always a good thing.

Album release: Fear Factory

Fear Factory released their latest album today, entitled Transgression.

I just picked it up at Best Buy and find that it is a Double Disc, which incorporates a CD on one side and a DVD on the other. The CD portion also contains a special bonus track exclusively for CDs purchased at Best Buy, but I find this rather stupid. If you are going to produce a CD, make all your songs available regardless of where they are purchased!

I'll give it a run through tonight and, supposing I have an opinion, post a review tomorrow.

"Feet on my Butt!"

"Pick up your feet", now... flare!"

I pulled down on the control lines as hard as I could, pulling them past my knees, and felt the chute hang just momentarily before we hit the ground on our butts with a thump. A single bounce and some pain from the rocks and grass going into my shorts later, we were seated 10 feet from where the plane had been parked before take off.

"Ok, sit back and I'll get you unhooked."

My jump master, Jeff, was releasing the catches that bound our harnesses together so I could stand up and get us untangled from the chute. Once on my feet I pulled him up, shook his hand and couldn't help but smile and thank him for such a great ride back to the earth.

"So, when will we be seeing you again?", Jeff asked me as we walked to the hanger.
"Soon", I said, "I'd like to talk to you about what it takes to jump solo..."

After decided that road racing motorcycles was too dangerous, or perhaps that I was too dangerous to myself while racing motorcycles, I thought I'd try jumping out of an airplane. Oddly enough, I did not get the massive adrenaline rush I was expecting. Instead, I found the whole experience rather relaxing, therapeutic and quite serene.

Friday afternoon my friend Anne told me she was doing a jump on Sunday for her birthday. Not being one to pass up a good excuse to put myself in harm's way I decided to go with her. Come Sunday morning we found ourselves in Rhome, TX at Skydive Cowtown wondering if this was in fact a good idea for a Sunday morning. Anne's husband Jerad was along to take pictures and watch his wife squirm nervously. He had jumped before, but his sister Jessica would be taking the plunge (her 2nd) with us.

While we signed 15 pages of paperwork the crew rolled a pair of Cesna 182's out of the hanger, prepared their equipment and took video of us doing stupid things around the airstrip.After 15 years of Army Ranger service and his current duties as NCO for two paratrooping battalions, Jeff (Anne and I's jump master) had stopped counting his jumps at 7,000. Jessica's jump master had stopped counting his at 5,000 and the camera man (for Anne's jump) had somewhere around 3,000! Needless to say, we were coupled with a very experience crew, even if the plane didn't start on the first try and was missing about as much paint as my old Neon.

After Anne's videotaped jump Jessica and I clambered into the harnesses and prepared for flight. For those of you who don't know, a Cesna 182 has about as much of a chance of holding 5 people and gear, as does your typical Miata. I was seated against the back wall in a fetal position, Jeff was seated with his back to the pilot and his feet under mine, Jessica's jump master was leaning against the dash with her seated in front of him and her feet against my butt. Yes, it was cramped.

At 10,000 feet we began the process of getting hooked up and rigged for the tandem jumps. We played human Tetris until I was sitting on my feet in front of Jeff, facing the pilot's seat and Jessica was balled up to my right. Up pops the door (a massive blast of air and noise fills the cabin) and a few seconds later she and her instructor are plunging out the door...The little voice in the back of my head, which was previously quite calm while Jeff and I talked (yelled) about such topics as our favorite foods and home towns, suddenly piped up:
"Hm, interesting. So, we're not landing with the plane, are we?"

I can hear Jeff yelling in my ear, "CRAWL TO THE DOOR!"

I do as I'm told and, remembering ground school, put my feet on the 6" x 6" platform on the plane's landing gear. Ok, arms crossed in front of my chest and as soon as we leave the plane I need to kick my legs back so my feet are on his butt. Sounds odd but this allows him to control all the air as we fall, and avoid inducing a flat spin or tumble.

So here I am looking out the door, 11,000 feet off the ground and my little voice pipes up again,
"What the hell am I doing?"

There's no time to think, and the last thing I hear before I'm vaulted out of the plane a split second later...


We did a number of sumersaults on our way out of the plane but I lost count after the first 1/2 tumble... my arms are crossed on my chest and my feet are squarely planted on his ass. We fall. I experience nothing but air.

A slight whistling noise in my ears and 120 mph air blast on my chest as we fall. I'm looking around but it feels as though we are sitting still and the world is rushing towards us to say hello. Luckily, the world is quite friendly and seems to want to talk over a cup of tea.

Falling, falling, falling... my mind is not racing. In fact, my mind is in no mood to talk. I'm just taking it in, the whole jump. The lay of the land below me and the idea that nothing actually seems to be getting much closer. In 45 seconds of freefall and we cover roughly 6,000 feet of airspace before he pulls the rip cord and my nuts are introduced to my sternum. I'm not sure how many g's we pulled going from 120 mph freefall to the 26 mph chute ride, but once the boys resituate themselves 2 feet lower and a few inches back to center, everything was good. We're hanging and conversing...

I'm excited but I'm not pumped, I thought this was quite strange but instead I'm simply calm and enjoying the feeling of hanging out in the middle of nowhere, flying. The fall was intense and I did need to remind myself to start breathing (10 seconds out of the plane), but the sensation was so surreal and unusual that I did not find it over taxing on my brain. There did not seem to be a whole slew of things to think about, because... well, you are just falling. I'm sure the process of controlling the fall is wickedly complicated, but hanging there as a passenger was quite simple and required little more thought than walking.

A look at the past

2004 was not one of my better years

I was beginning my first full year of motorcycle road racing with the CMRA (Central Motorcycle Roadracing Association) aboard an SV650 prepared to compete in the Lightweight Superbike class of the CMRA's endurance racing series. Here's a photo from The Motorsport Ranch in Cresson, TX.

Unfortunately, the season did not go as planned.

I broke the 4th and 5th metatarsels in my left foot in May of 2004, which required minor surgery to insert two pins to stabalize the bones while they healed. Living in a 3rd floor apartment and driving a stick shift was now nearly impossible, but I managed the crutches, bought groceries in small doses and bummed rides to work with several great friends. I was also loaned a car (an automatic) and this helped me break the onus of being stuck indoors for so many hours after work!

Eight weeks later, once the pins had been removed, I needed to teach myself how to walk again. The community pool was excellent for this and really helped me get accustomed to putting weight on my leg and rolling my ankle in a normal walking fashion.

I began cycling to get my leg back in shape and it wasn't long before I was back racing. Things went well until November 4th, 2004 when I pitched my recently rebuilt Honda F4i at Oak Hill raceway in Henderson, TX. The bike and I went for a nice tumble...

And all of the time, money and effort I'd put into rebuilding the racebike had now been undone. I had also not faired well in the accident and had come away with a wealth of new injuries:

  • Broken Left Clavicle
  • Four broken ribs
  • Severely bruised/nearly broken left hip
  • Heavily bruised 4 finger tips on left hand
  • Funky Concussion
  • Just below my waist, a hole in my back the size and depth of a coke bottle cap

The accident also destroyed my RS-Taichi leathers, Suomy helmet and Dainese spine protector. Needless to say I was a bit worse for wear, and certainly felt the effects of this one on a physical as well as emotional level. Couple that with some other more personal issues (found out I was dating a slut) and 2004 ended in a major slump.

I remained as positive as I could and was looking forward to starting my life and hobbies fresh in 2005...