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.

Life Update

A good life update blog post is in order. Not because anything big has changed, but because I’m having something of a life adventure this year without responsibilities of school or a job. So I feel like it’d be fun to keep a journal type of blog during the next few months of my nomadic lifestyle for others and myself to go back to read.

First, I’ve finally completed my applications to graduate school and those are now out of my control. I’ve applied to USC (California), Purdue, U of Michigan, Huntsville Alabama, and Colorado State. It should be a good few weeks before I hear back from these programs. Not to mention the amount of paperwork required for grad school is a whole order of magnitude larger than the amount required to apply to undergraduate school. Only after submitting my application did I find out about several documents to submit that I had not even come across in the whole month I was working on the applications.

Secondly is this “job” I was checking out. This past Thursday I was in Greenville, SC interviewing for a job with an engineering company that works closely with gas turbines. I had an initial phone interview earlier this December that I thought I totally bombed, however they called me back next week and set up an on-site interview. The interview went really well, at least that’s what I was told after knocking out all the technical questions they asked me. It seemed like a great atmosphere to work in since the project they got would be concerned with all different types of computational fluid analysis involved in turbine engines. Also, all the people working there were pretty young and recent college graduates. I have to say that if they offered me a job I might have to take it. First the work the company does is actual aerospace engineering, which is a prospect I had long since resigned myself to giving up in the job search department. Second, the breadth and type of work they do would give me a great base of knowledge that I could use and apply to pretty much anything involved in aircraft or spacecraft. Not to mention in my few hours there Greenville seemed like a great city for not only living, but riding too (I’ll get to ride with George Hincapie sooooo much).

On to the really important stuff: cycling. I was, for a while, entertaining the idea of transferring to other teams to ride for next season. However in the end Panther was still the best team to ride for. All the guys on the team are great and the organizational side of the team has to be one of the best run in the world of amateur cycling teams. Part of my decision to ride for Panther involved the idea to go train in Tucson for the winter months, Panther has been enormously supportive of my plan to go south for training which I can’t be happy enough about.

This is a pretty common pipe dream for aspiring cyclists, go to Tucson ride with all the P-R-O’s and make the connections to get on a pro team for the next season. My own personal goals aren’t so team centric for next year, all I really want to do this season is to train hard and race the shit out of this season, then go to grad school or get a real job…and if going pro works out it works out.

Anyway, after some hiccups involving me rear-ending a giant SUV in my little Mazda I’m finally driving down to Arizona as I speak…or um write.

We just stopped in Roswell New Mexico and are now driving through some of the mountains in the southern region of the state. We did visit the UFO museum/research center. The museum itself was somewhat of a let down, most of the exhibits consisted of newspaper clippings about the crashed aliens and poorly taken pictures of the site. However there was one good exhibit:

The entire highlight of the stop was going to the ‘Spaceport’ gift shop where we were greeted by the cashier with a Vulcan peace sign and the phrase “Welcome Humans”…now that’s more what I’m talking about.

Other than that stop our trip thus far has been pretty uneventful, we stopped in Shamrock Texas last night and did the most boring ride of my life in the morning which consisted of us riding 10 miles up US 83 and back again, although I did take the town sign sprints for both Twitty and Shamrock since Joey was busy picking cotton up off the side of the road.
Our bathroom also had a telephone in it which is awesome!. It allowed me to make all the important cycling team related calls I need to from complete comfort and serentity

Back to the life update. We’re tentatively arriving in Tucson tonight and tomorrow looking at a house to sublease two rooms. Yes, we’re technically homeless right now. The set up would be pretty nice, it’s close to campus and their waving January’s rent since we’re moving in half way through the month.

This lack of January’s rent is particularly perfect for me since as soon as we get there I’m leaving for a week to go to South Korea (don’t worry it’s a rest week). A college friend, Derek Laan, has been living there for the past year teaching English. It’ll be a good trip, we’re planning on skiing, seeing a bunch of Korea, and the DMZ where hopefully the foreigners don’t confuse me for a movie star again: I’m much more comfortable with Phil Liggett hitting on me than Kim Jon IlExpect some good blogging from that week.

After I’m back from Korea it’s on to some hard core training. What kind of training you might ask? Well aside from my patented Super Taper (I can coach you in the dark arts of the Super Taper for the low fee of $200/month, Pizza is included!), I just plan on riding a whole ass load of base miles and racing into shape. There is no shortage of early season races going on in Tucson.

I’ve noticed a few of my contemporaries have been soliciting donations on their blogs to pursue their cycling dreams. I would do this, but I’m actually pretty set in terms of housing, travel, food, etc…..
If you would like to contribute to my “Beer and Strippers Fund”, or BSF fund for short, then you are in luck! Here is the donate button. I will only accept $1 donations since it’s easier to pay for lap dances that way. What will you get out of it you ask? I will send you a personal email describing exactly where I put your good $1 to use, and you get the wholesome knowledge that you’re putting a nice young lady through school at University of Arizona.

Oh yeah by the way, in case you were wondering the forecast for Tucson for the next three days are as follows:

Monday: 76 Sunny
Tuesday: 76 Sunny
Wednesday: 72 Partly Sunny (this will be rough)


CX this weekend

I hate cyclocross, if it were up to me, every barrier on earth would be thrown into a massive bonfire, and all the roadies and mountain bikers would sit in a circle and rejoice about never being forced to run with their bikes ever again (running in MTB races is not “forced” per say, but more something that indicates you don’t have the technical skills to shred the gnar). There would be no more rat mazes of caution tape, or needless wooden structures with steps on one side and a ramp on the other…most normal people call that a slide.

That said, every year I get sucked in. Yeah sure driving 4 hours so I can wrestle into my skin-suit to race for one whole hour, without water, will be totally awesome. In reality the reason is friendship…not that that’s where you forge new ones, but that’s where the only one’s I have exist.
Being a racer entails that, outside of the months of September – February, you do not know of the phenomenon most normal people know as the weekend. These ‘weekends’ are the times when people congregate, drink, do a variety of fun activities, but mostly hang out with friends.
In my own personal experience, when I entered college, I immediately joined the cycling team. This meant that, for the past 5 years, nearly all weekends were spent with other cyclists. The more weekends you spend cycling, the more cyclist friends you have, the more your social circle looks like a incestuous family.
Not that this is a bad thing, but it just means that in the months from October – November hanging out with friends usually means jumping over barriers.

Anyway I’ve also been willfully applying for real jobs, which hasn’t been going well. As with most recent college grads I’m also looking into graduate schools for Engineering, including:
Michigan State
and finally University of Huntsville Alabama.
If I got in there I would sell my iPod…I’d really only need one song (I think you know the one):

Joking aside, Huntsville has a sweet propulsion program as it is the home of the Redstone Arsenal which was the once home of Werhner von Braun and entire US space propulsion program (so they get a lot of gov. funding)
However after all the hating I’ve been doing on CX, there is a cool race this weekend in Detroit’s historic civil war fort (or some war…it’s just old):