Lamenting this bookish reprieve

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There was a time when I lived where the only written words in my life were few, and they came from my soul, and they were written in pencil. Some years before that, I was young and fit. BJ – I’ve got the opposite problem. I weigh at least 15 lbs LESS than I did then. I was a fucking rock – and this picture was taken on Thanksgiving 1999, just days after El Tour, where I finished 4:58. I missed the beer tent photo op.

Nov 1999 as guest in Chicago area.
Nov 1999 as guest in Chicago area.

Fast forward to 2008 – and it’s summer in Portland. I live in a finished bedroom in a basement. Every day I wake up, go get coffee, and ride. But not anywhere near the level of before. Just riding around, trying to get in with the cool local bike shops, picking up beer on the way home.  In 1999, I used to ride 50 miles with the group, come home, eat, nap in the Tucson noise lullaby, and go out on the bike again to run errands.  I once rode to Winkleman on Saturday and back on Sunday – and I took Reddington pass, and if that ain’t hard enough – I had road tires.

But now… now I live where there’s a streak of motor oil on the road when its wet, I get yelled at, called an idiot (for being on a bike) and I sit for many hours in the law library. It’s not a bad life. Could be better.  Would be nice to have people to ride with.  I miss that, even if they were road snobs with nicer bikes than me.

That's the backyard work area on 39th in Portland. (that's not my mess)
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About littlejar

5 - Learned to ride in paved alley behind liquor store in Lowell. 16 - Road bike riding alone while peers do soccer practice. 18 - First new road bike bought with winnings from Project Graduation. 20 - Burlington VT. Nuff said. 22 - Joined the Air Force. 23 - Joined team Fair Wheel in Tucson - rode the Shootout. 24 - Rode El Tour in under five. 26 - Toured to Quebec City 28 - Toured Oklahoma to Vermont 30 - Found my dream bike - a 1989 58cm LaBan (#22) 32 - Experienced Minneapolis and saw BIKE CULTURE. 34 - Building my first bicycle frame, with a self made jig. USA

10 Replies to “Lamenting this bookish reprieve”

  1. Transition…

    The common thread between cyclists is the need for challenge. Just like so many @ DC over the past 10 years riding has taken the backseat to life’s challenges…. kids, grad school, work, etc. I am now of the opinion that it is a transformation process that ends in a return to what we love…. Fresh Air, Two Wheels, Friends, and more challenges.

    I am back… schools finished, kids are growing, semi-recovered from getting hit by a car… I will see you on the road or trail when you all complete your respective journeys.

  2. Reddington road on road tires? Impressed. And perhaps envious? That initial climb out of the valley must have been fun!

  3. That ride on Reddington road… I had heard it connected eventually and a few settlements exist up in there. I was thinking that it must be only 20 miles or so. Boy, was I wrong. That ride was right up there with being up in the sandy rocks of Arches Nat. Park; when I ran out of water. The washboard is what got to me. I was spending all of my time trying to avoid the beating that my straight fork and size 28 Michelins on washboard was. When I saw pavement 45 miles later, I damn near cried. I still had 50 to go. My arms – they were jack-hammered that day.

  4. Come down and ride in Enumclaw. Great rides, not too many assclowns, and I’ll ride with ya..old school, steel, down tube shifters n shit. Or hardtail mt bike with pretty good trails rite out the back door

  5. The ever present noise lullaby of Tucson made me claustrophobic while I sat out on the front porch. One of the few subtle reasons in the larger mix of why I vacated. Regardless, I have a certain romance with the hell of Reddington, or perhaps it’s just one more aspect of Tucson that makes it a place I think of fondly. I’ve circumnavigated Lemmon a few times via that direction and it has always been an impressive ride. The mining country that contains Winkleman is superb solitude on a bike as well. I returned to flagstaff from the 24 hours in the Old Pueblo via that route just yesterday. I miss my rides there in the mining country.