July 15, 2011

I Hate Fashion

It's not easy being me, rather, finding clothes that fit my odd shape. See, I am about 5' 7" and weight about 155, but I am reasonably lean. I also have, for my height, a longish inseam at 31". I've never enjoyed shopping for clothes because I am between sizes on about everything. But with the current trends in fashion, I find shopping downright stupid now.

While wandering in and out of shops yesterday with Wifey, I found a t-shirt that I actually liked. I mean, how often do you find something with Hunter S. Thompson on it? I normally wear a medium, but they looked kinda small. I grabbed a large and a medium and went to the fitting room.

Okay, so the medium fit like a cycling jersey. The sleeves were tight on my biceps and it was tight through my back. It was even snug on my skeletal chest. Plus it only went to my belt line. So I put on the large. Which still didn't fit all that great, and is a bit long, but I went for it anyway. Again, HST!

I walked out and I mentioned to Wifey that I didn't know who in the hell they sized this stuff for, but it wasn't me. She replied that it was the style that clothes fit tighter now, it was the style. I know it is, but said it was ridiculously snug. She started to say something about my lack of fashion sense when we were addressed by one of the store employees. "Are you guys finding everything okay?"

It was a hipster guy in his early 20s, my height, with a scraggly little beard. He was wearing some sort of skinny jean capri-things that hugged his non-existent thighs and made his ass disappear like his cheeks had gotten frightened and crawled into his crack to hide. Underneath his little wool cardigan (mind you, it's 90°) he had a t-shirt on the was not stuck to his back, chest or arms.

I realized this was who clothing was designed to fit now. And I now understand why many women get frustrated shopping for clothes that are designed to fit a 6' tall, size 1 supermodel. Clothes for men are now made to fit someone other than me, because not only does brooding not build muscle, it must inhibit it.

I bought the large shirt. It's a little long, because of my shorty highpockets build; but at least I don't feel like I'm wearing a wetsuit. I guess I'm just not meant to be cool...

On a side note, tomorrow I am riding my first organized century. Like with other people. Hope it's fun!

July 8, 2011


I watch one single damn sporting event all year, the Tour de France, and this year it is being decided by crashes in the first week. Not time trials, not 7 hour mountain stages. Crashes. This is such a goddamn disappointment. My giveashitability to watch the Tour is now near zero for the next two weeks. Way to pick a race route ASO.

July 7, 2011

Another Birthday

Today, July 7, 2011 would have been my sister's 44th birthday had cancer not taken her from us on January 31, 2006. Fifth year anniversary.

So, happy birthday, sis!

She was given the official diagnosis on her birthday in 2005. Quite a gift. She called me while I was at work and told me. I went into my bosses office and cried. On October 22, Smarty Pants was born, my daughter that would never know her aunt. In December, I forget the day, she called as I was driving into work and told me she was going to die, and that the doctor wanted to see us so that he could explain. And now she is gone...

Look at the time, from diagnosis to death. Six and a half months. That is what liver cancer does to you. It kills you, quickly and terribly.

Heidi's birthday is the only day that I make an extra effort to take her flowers, and remember her life and short time here. I say extra effort because I remember her every day. I don't want to do anything on the day she died. Memorial Day has become like Valentine's Day, so I focus on her birthday. It was the day she was welcomed to the the world, and unlike her life, that can't be taken away. Plus, it's on her birthday that we did a great thing as siblings, we got each other cards that made fun of each other. Goddamn I miss those cards. I still give her one.

Every year I get up in the morning, go and buy flowers and pick out a card. I go to the cemetery and clean up the markers of Heidi and my grandparents (right next door). I cut, arrange and water flowers for both markers. I do this alone, with my memories — great, good and bad — that fade in and out as I go about my work. I don't want company. I want it that way.

It's a little thing, but it's all I have. Considering our age spread of seven years, she was gone and married and having kids by the time I was old enough to really start enjoying her company as an equal adult. As we grew older our relationship matured and she wasn't just my big sister anymore, she was my friend. One of my best friends. I talked to her about things I couldn't with my parents, or anyone else. It's a hole that has never been filled. If I need help or to vent about certain things, I just don't get it, and it stays with me. Probably good reason #76 to see a psychologist. Even though we were siblings for 32 years, I really only got to know her well for about 17 of those. And that just wasn't enough time. I wish I knew her better. I wish... But who knew? Of all the things that just, well, fucking suck about her death, two things stand out: she left behind two daughters that I don't get to spend enough time with, and a niece who she'll never be able to spoil.

This year, I had trouble picking out a card. And that troubles me. Maybe it shouldn't. Maybe it shouldn't. But I barely had it in me. I settled on one, but it wasn't funny. It was respectful. And sort of funny. But not disparaging. I know that I am not getting any less comically ruthless as I get older. I think I am worse than ever, actually. I just carry it like a concealed weapon instead of on my hip like a gunslinger. I have no answer. Maybe it was just today. Maybe it will be worse next year.

I'll close by reminding you, gentle readers, to love your life. Appreciate and get to know those you love and who love you so that there are no regrets if they are taken unexpectedly. Take nothing for granted, appreciate your family and siblings, even though they may be a pain in the ass sometimes — or all the time. Trust me on this one, I know what I am talking about.

And give a little something to cancer research today. Livestrong, American Cancer Society, Cancer Sucks! or whatever. Find a marathon, century ride or something where the proceeds go to cancer research. DO SOMETHING! I know pink ribbons are all the rage right now and believe me, I like breasts probably a little more than the next person, but cancer is cancer and I don't believe in pigeon holing funds for one type of research. But if saving boobs are where you want your money and time to go, then do it. Cure breast cancer and then move on to the next type. The shit kills people more indiscriminately than al quaeda, and there's a great chance of it getting me someday. There's your PSA for the day. Take care of yourselves.

July 1, 2011

Pain and a Few Words on Modesty

The last day of June was my first "real" mountain bike ride of the year. How f#@king sad is that?

I'll tell you it's pretty sad coming from a guy that used to live, and I stress live, to mountain bike. I rode, trained and raced. I ate, drank and slept to mountain bike. I even got sorta fast. Sorta.

But last night on the trails above Ogden was just brutal. Buhrootal. My bike is old. I'm too fat for my clothes. My fitness is lacking. Any riding skills I ever had have packed and left. I've been out on a couple of shorter rides this year and last night in the heat really confirmed the aforementioned woes.

Yet, in spite of the pain in my "quads" and back and pride, I still enjoyed myself immensely. Which got me thinking. When I started mountain biking 20 years ago (HOLY SHIT!), a mountain bike was all I had to ride and mountains were pretty much where I rode it. Then I started racing and bought a road bike to train on. Then I started riding more and more on the road, but still had time as a single man to get my mountain bike fix. If I rode five days a week, two or three would be in the dirt.

Then I started really enjoying the road bike. There is something great about mindlessly ticking off the miles, and it is easy to open the garage and just go out for a couple of hours. And I got a new bike I really like riding.

All of the sudden life got all serious with a kid and house and stuff, and I am lucky to ride twice a week. Then along came marathons. Try training for those and riding bikes. Then triathlons. Three sports to train for, four if you count mountain and road biking separately.

What's a guy to do? Day's aren't getting any longer. My life ain't either. I've been tempted to unload the road bike and get back to only riding a mountain bike. But then I lose the ability to grab and go on the road bike. And I do still enjoy the road bike. And why do I sign up for marathons? I need to swim, my back appreciates it, especially when riding.

I guess I need to just learn to embrace mediocrity. Even though my loss of mountain bike skills is a tough pill to swallow, I like the other stuff enough that I need to get used to it.

On a different subject, I hope that modesty comes back into fashion as Smarty Pants grows up. I've had a pair of incidents lately with attractive, long-legged ladies running/hiking in booty shorts with seriously, a one-inch inseam. Don't get me wrong, I'm far from a prude and certainly like looking, but save it for the swimming pools - where you expect to see it.

I hope fashion re-vovles into clothing that keeps ass cheeks covered by the time my daughter is a teenager. I can't follow her everywhere with a loaded assault rifle.