It’s official I’m officially really joining the Real Ass World

Yup, you have heard me right. Yes way, Hell has frozen over, Pigs are in orbit, It has happened in a Million years, I now officially have a job.

Alright so this has been in the works for some time now, and I’ve pretty much told everybody by now except for maybe my blog which was feeling a little left out (I’ve been seeing other blogs). I was in Greenville, SC for an on site interview last January, but a little over a week ago I got all the papers signed and payroll stuff taken care of. I will be moving to Greenville, SC and starting the job May 16th.
These coming weeks will be the criss cross tour of America for me. This Tuesday we leave Tucson for good and head to Silver City, NM for the SRAM Tour of the Gila. After 5 days of the toughest stage racing in America, it’s clear across the country for another week long race series SpeedWeek (which I hear is like Superweek, but faster and with more crashes, if that’s at all possible). SpeedWeek is pretty central to the Greenville area, and since most of the crits are twilight or night time crits, I’ll be able to do some apartment hunting during the days. Little do they know it yet but I’ll also be recruiting the people I’m staying with there to help me move in, haha. After SpeedWeek is over on Sunday, it’s back to Indiana to drop off Joey, then back up to Michigan for a week. I’ll get all my crap packed up there, hit up the Tour of Washtenaw (followed by a shower and some traditional send off Coney Island), then head back down to Greenville for good. All in all this trip will constitute 3,500 miles of driving and cross 13 states at least once.
Don’t be fooled, this is an actual job, not the kind of job I’m used to. A full time job where you get there at 9 am and leave at 5 pm (that’s 8 whole hours!)
Let me point out some other important differences between this job and job’s I’ve had in the past.
Past Jobs New Job
Attire Greased clothing Polos
Tasks Fixing bikes Building Jet Engines
Schedule Whenever you 9 – 5
wana come in man
Vacation Just let us know a 2 weeks, give a week of notice
day ahead of time
Benefits Discounted Bike Parts Dental
Salary Bike Parts Wheelbarrows of scrillas
(compared to my current income of $0 a month)
A lot of people worry how a full time job will affect their cycling performance. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to keep things balanced.

So I’ll be trading in my Canyon for something a little more my new speed. If anyone wants a sweet bike and set of zipps just let me know, I’ll take a trade for some pocket protectors or ties (only with sweet graphics like pianos or cartoon characters).
Ok, so that’s a slight exaggeration (not about the pocket protectors and ties though). I’m still going to race. A whole new region of racing awaits my domination. Not to mention that Greenville, SC is the home of American superstar cyclist George Hincapie, so I’m sure we’ll be training together all the time.

Even better is that I’ll be down there just in time for Pro US Nationals (in Greenville). I’ll be able to do some serious spectating (beer drinking) and cheering (screaming jiberish while running next to the pack up hill with my shirt, and possibly pants, off).
However if any Pro teams out there need a guest rider I know a guy who’s willing to give up all that weekend of drinking and yelling at you to race with you! I’m even a cheap date since I’ll be living in Greenville, and you can even stay at my apartment for free (unless you’re Bissell, then you have to vacuum my floors).
To be serious for a moment. I have been working at the whole cycling thing for a while, and it seems like while things aren’t quite stalled yet, it’s pretty hard to make it as a amateur level cyclist. Trust me when I say I spent some time hemming and hawing about whether or not to take the job. I love spending my summers couch surfing and waking up every day with a McDonalds Big Breakfast before getting kitted up to bump shoulders at the day’s crit. This isn’t going to end by any stretch, I just won’t be able to spend weeks on end doing Superweek crits in Milwaulkee. The fact of the matter is once September hits what would I do? (Not Cyclocross) I could have headed back to graduate school at either USC or Huntsville Alabama, but this job is pretty much as ideal in every way as I can imagine. It’s in a great location, it’s doing something that not only I studied in school but want to focus on, and it’s a small company which is something I’m pretty keen on (even though I’ve only had one real engineering job). The benefits kinda sorta greatly outweigh the negatives of not being able to race my bike all summer long.
My one major regret is that I won’t be able to race as much with my team as I’d like to. With the bulk of the Panther team in Indiana and Michigan, it’ll be tough to make it to the big team races, but I’ll put in the effort. Fortunately though, Greenville is really well located for a bunch of big races. Speedweek obviously, but Elite Nationals are only an hour and a half away now. Plus a few of the late season NRC Crits are in pretty easy striking distance as well.
Eh we’ll see how it goes, and I’ll try to keep the blog updated through out the whole next month of madness.
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Tour of Arizona

Psyche! There isn’t one.

But since I’m on perpetual vacation here in Arizona I decided last week to road trip around and see the rest of the wonderful state before I leave. I was sure Arizona had a lot more to offer than just desert and cacti.
My childhood friend Lizzy came to visit form Michigan and also wanted to see the wonders of amAZing Arizona. We were slightly let down in the fact that Arizona is pretty much all desert. We started on Monday heading up through Pheonix then East to Tortilla Flats through some pretty awesome park area.
We were unfortunately driving through the single rainy day in Arizona history which made Superstition Mountain look like Sauron’s castle, it’s just missing the giant flaming eye.

After a brief stop to admire a ghost town/tourist trap, we headed out east on the ApacheTrail

It was a beautiful area, and the road was awesome, definitely worth a trip back to hit up on a road bike. Then the road turned to dirt for a full 22 miles. I was pretty skeptical of my own cars abilities at first but after seeing a few retiree’s in their boat sized caddies’ going the opposite direction…well I couldn’t be shown up by the elderly.

So for about an hour I was tearing up the road rally car style, and by tearing up the road I mean babying my car along the super rough road at a blistering 20 mph. It was quite the scenic drive, including a stretch of super rough one lane road called Fish Creek Hill which used to be a dirt race course, some plaque they had said only like 20 people died racing up it. That’s pretty weak if you ask me, if you’re not crashing you’re not going fast enough.

Anyway after a pretty laborious hour of driving we finally made it to the Rosevelt Dam! Wohoo!

That night we made it all the way to the Wigwam motel in Holbrook, AZ.

Yes finally I fulfilled my lifelong dream of living in a tepee. Given these tepee’s were made of concrete and had cable television, I’m still counting it as my Native American experience. Actually my Native American experience was just beginning as pretty much the entirety of the next two days were spent in the Navajo nation. But before the whole Navajo bit, we went to the petrified national forest.
Let me tell you my thoughts on the petrified national forest: it sucks. Really don’t bother going out of your way, even the 30 mile drive through the park was too much for me. It’s pretty much just boring grassland with some old logs scattered around. Plus if all you want to do is see some petrified wood, any gift shop within a half hour has plenty of petrified wood made into cheesy folk art for $1000 or more.

So after that disappointing experience I had high hopes for our next stop Canyon de Chelly which was supposed to be a beautiful canyon with a lot of Navajo ruins, AND was the place where the last Navajo that hadn’t surrendered to America were slaughtered (history is fun!).


The canyon was actually really beautiful, and there was a cool hike that we did down into the canyon to check out some of the Navajo ruins. We also experienced some of our first Indiana culture, which is pretty much selling as much crap to tourists as possible. Canyon de Chelly is one of the few national parks owned by the Indians, so the base of the canyon is actually private land. This means that pretty much EVERYWHERE in the Navajo nation parks there will be people set up with folding tables selling Indian crafts.
They even have Indian sweatshops where they force ancient Indian Grandma’s to make rugs all day

Ok so it’s not a sweatshop, but a rug of this size will cost upward of $2000. And for good reason, after watching her for a few minutes I got the impression that this is incredibly complicated to do these rugs by hand and take a long time.
Anyway on to the next attraction…well we didn’t make it to the next attraction that day. So we stopped and got some Indian food: Fry Bread. Fry bread I guess is just dough deep fried in lard, which is delicious. Lizzy is below demonstrating the proper way to eat Fry Bread: soak it in Honey

And also a Navajo taco, which is nothing like a taco, just fry bread with a bunch of taco ingredients on top.

Monument Valley was the next stop. I tried hitting up some MTB’ing but since it’s all Navajo land there aren’t any trails anywhere in the park (which is all private land again).

What no trails?

Pretty beautiful

This is where Eminem grew up, and he was Navajo in case you didn’t know.

Yeah had to shoot some banditos off a ridge, no big deal. Thanks to my trusty steed “Lightning” at 28 years of age, he can still get me to the action.
After all this we went to the Glen Canyon Dam:

Dam!
Then it was off to horseshoe bend, a really awesome section of the river that is a half mile from the highway.
Then we went to the Grand Canyon…which had snow. Wait I thought this was the desert what the hell is snow doing here.
The Grand Canyon had some interesting ads running on their buses, but they know best so I’ve been trying to follow their advice as best as possible since I got back.

After the Grand Canyon we drove back down through Flagstaff, then Sedona, then back through Phoenix to Tucson on Thursday.
The next day we went to the San Xavier mission, which was way cooler than the Petrified National Forest.

Come to think of it every park I’ve ever been to is way cooler than the Petrified National Forest.
So the moral of the whole trip I guess is don’t go to the Petrified National Forest.
I learned a lot.
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