Free Your Mind, And Your Legs Will Follow

Monday, December 31, 2012

Brief year in review 2012

My greatest accomplishment this year: 340 miles of Trans Iowa....a lifetime goal complete!!!Rode the entire race with DBD'er Jeremy Kershaw...what a good partner!

The SFCA in full effect 2012 TIV8

Out in the hills of Iowa mid-race, thanks to Bill Graves for the photo

My trusty rapha pack with my race number

Saw a good amount of great shows this year

Slender Fungus out in Dekalb for a day of hell and a sunburn I had all year long

More great concerts

This year I took on a new position at Wheel Werks Custom Bicycles in Crystal Lake, IL. This was a great opportunity and I have greatly enjoyed working with my boss and coworkers. The community in Crystal Lake has really kind of adopted me since I have no family around the area.

I built one of my favorite bikes ever this Salsa Mariachi single speed. I built this bike on a Thursday...(see next photo)

...and raced the 100 mile Chequamegon mountain bike race 2 days later on Saturday. It was awesome and got to ride with some great friends and make some new ones. I finished the race rigid SS in 12:15. Also pictured is my new car that I bought this year. My Honda Element SC was purchased from my good friend Brendan....I LOVE THIS CAR!!!!

I enjoyed living in Woodstock. During the summer there was always something going on around the shows, craft fairs, concerts...its pretty cool. The location is great. I am 20 miles from the WI border....1 hour from Chicago....and am 5 minutes in any direction from some really great roads. Also, my training grounds of Bull Valley is 1 mile away and those hills beat my legs up.

Several great rides with my boss Bob. We have become good friends and both enjoy the same kind of riding. We like cruising....pushing hard when we need to....but just enjoying the trip and taking everything in, talking, taking pictures....and HAVING FUN....isn't that why we got into the bike industry in the first place???

Great friends of the shop and two of the strongest riders around. Mike and Chris have been great to me and have been awesome riding partners. Great people!!!

The Slender Fungus loves Iowa....not just loves...but LLLOOVVVEEESSSS. We can't get enough of this place and will probably all end up living in a commune there one day smoking hookas and listening to gypsy music while eating oven fired pizzas. We took 5 trips this year and it was great to relax and ride the high when we got out there.

Quality Bicycle Products had us out to Ogden Utah for their Saddle Drive show. It was great to see friends from all over, ride some awesome bikes, and refresh our minds from the busy summer we had at the shop. What a great trip...we stayed a few days later for Dealer Camp in Park City, Utah

Dealer Camp showed us all the new Cannondale products and we got to demo every bike that they make. Trust me these were not cheap bikes....we beat the crap out of them and it just goes to show what a solid product Cannondale makes. 

Bob mid-trail on the Cannondale F29 gettin ready to RIIPPPPPPP

Post ride BUZZ on the good belgian beer before the cross race in Park City with our friend Craig Watson...what a great dude!

Took a week off of riding to drive down to South Carolina with my brother (in from LA) to see my Dad for Christmas. So good to hang with my family and to see my dog Abe. We have had Abe since I was 11 years old...hes still holding on but I feel like it will be the last time I see him so I gave him some extra attention and treats while we were down there. 

Got to go to my favorite beach in the country in South Carolina. There is a whole half mile stretch where there are nothing but dead driftwood trees....super cool stuff. Here my Dad and I are goofing around

Awesome roots of a driftwood tree

My twin brother and best friend Matt. So good to see him. It was extremely hard to say good bye to my brother and my Dad. I miss them already. 

Love these guys!

Earlier in late September I made my yearly hike to Duluth, MN for my friend (and riding companion during TI) Jeremy's race the Heck of the North. I love Duluth...thats all I can say. I finished 25th this year of around 150+ people. Jeremy does one hell of a job putting on this event and has always opened his home to me for anything I need. Our friendship has grown and I always look forward to seeing him. Good luck on the Arrowhead this year Jeremy! Get ready for the one-gear challenge in April...round 2 my friend!!!

After the Heck of the North I found one of my favorite spots in the country up in Northern Wisconsin. True beauty and an amazing road trip. Thanks for keeping me company Beth!

One of my favorite shots out there....

More IA trips with the Slender Fungus. Our good friends TJ and Gumby have made the trip with us and so did my buddy Rob from Springfield. This was a truly great ride and we hurt ourselves pretty bad like we always do. The person I forgot to mention is the Bonk King. Mike has been a great friend this year and we have ridden dozens of times this past year. I thank him for always showing up, always making me laugh, and always bringing some good whiskey. You rock buddy!

My best friend Ari has had one hell of a year.... I am very selfishly thankful that he is back in IL and I am able to ride with him on a regular basis. Some of my best times riding have been with Ari at my side. I will have these memories forever and hope to make many many more. 

More concerts....VIP at Lawrence Arms

One of my favorite shots from out last IA trip....Ari up in the distance

Got to see two of my favorite bands this year at Lollapalooza...At the drive in, and Sigur Ros. What a day!!!

Am so thankful that I got to see my mom several times this year. She is such an important part of my life. I don't know what I'd do without you mom!

I have had a lot of adventures this year and look forward to many more in 2013. Thanks for reading my blog and remember to keep posting comments and get a hold of me so that we can ride together!!! Happy new year everyone!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Iowa Mission #5: Whiskey and Beef Jerky

The start of the ride...the first 7 miles are terrible

Bonk King Bonking

El Dorkus

You can see a lot of the roads off in the distance

Pre Whiskey

Post Whiskey

Slender Fungus Clubhouse with Jim Beam Devil's Cut on tap and lots of big busted women

Ti bikes


Off into the wild...15-20 mph headwind for 30 miles


More climbing

These pigs could smell the bonk kings bacon sandwich

My personal favorite picture from the day...this hill was AMAZING

"Whats up mother fucker??" - I love the bonk king

Almost had to walk this one...can see Ari in the distance blowing his colon trying to get up this hill

The "Hurt Tank"

Iowa trip #5 was planned. We met in Sycamore and cruised for a long drive out to our secret location in the heart of our favorite state. We were chilly and started our ride with a sip of the wonderful Devil's Cut whiskey which is now standard issue for the Slender Fungus. The bonk king and Ari were on their titanium rigs and I chose the steel mariachi single speed 29'er. We hit a different route this time and enjoyed the 15-20 mph headwind for 3.5 hours. Our faithful companion turned and we wished the bonk king well as he had to get back for his sunday activities. It is always a pleasure to ride with that guy. It doesn't matter what the weather is, what the mood is, what anything is....he will be there and do his own matter what. What a great friend to bring us some belgian beer as well...what a guy! Ari and I continued our journey and were in awe that we were riding this late in the season and were blessed by the great countryside that Iowa has to offer. We saw 2 bald eagles, gorgeous scenery, and enjoyed an awesome tailwind on our way back to the car. We sipped whiskey along the way and I was delighted to be spending the day with two great friends. A lot of memories and thoughts during these rides get lost when I write these blog posts but they have a special place in my heart from the conversations we have and the laughs along the ride. Just like a barber shop along the route and it's hilarious name. Too many good times and many of them are from meeting one of my best friends Ari...he has opened my eyes to a different world of cycling that will never die. This is what makes up the Slender Fungus...a passion, a comradery, and a friendship that will never end. These are my people. The best people. Glad to have the ride under our belts and even though we only went 62 miles the gravel was soaked and our legs were fried and we felt like we rode 100 miles. We thought the day wouldn't get any better but then we found a true hidden gem of a great pizzeria and had some awesome food and drinks there before our drive back. I will take these memories to my grave....

- Cookie, Slender Fungus