These past two months have been busy for me, and while I am aware that the things I am dealing with pale in comparison to what others’ go through on a daily basis, I am rather happy that November and December are in the rearview. School and other distractions got in the way of riding, relaxing, and enjoying the little things in life. The last two weeks of December were especially brutal, with few if any people around my department, I spent my days locked in a computer lab trying to get a leg up on my thesis. Self pity and feelings of being pathetic was not how I was hoping to end 2011. I had thought November was off to a good start when Gorgeous George at Bike29 hooked me up with a new pair of mtb wheels, partially paid for by “Big Oil.” You read that right, Big Oil helped to pay for my mountain bike wheels.
I presented my masters research at a job fair in Wyoming sponsored by a group of Oil/Gas/Mineral Exploration companies back in October, and did well enough to be rewarded with dolla dolla billz for my work. When I told my girlfriend about the winnings, she gave me the best piece of advice I had received in a long time, “spend it on yourself.” Driving back from Wyoming with a large check in my pocket, I used all of my self restraint to not blow all the money at one of the three fireworks stands I passed. Instead I did the only appropriate thing one should do with Big Oil’s money, I spent it on bike parts. Once I got back to Fort Collins, I gave George a call, told him what type of wheels I was looking for, and other new bike bits I wanted. Tragically, due to weather, school, and other distractions my time spent on trail has been minimal, yet I have high hopes for these new wheels once Spring gets sprung.
My research also allowed me to have a trip to San Francisco, once again to present my research. Now for those of you thinking, “why the fuck is this guy bitching about getting to travel to San Francisco?”, in my defense it was right before I had three exams. I had not taken a formal exam (not counting the exam I took to get hired to work for the 2010 Census) in nearly six years, so the prospect of three crammed into one week was rather daunting. Despite constantly thinking of exams, San Francsisco offered plenty of distractions, culture, and old friends which cannot be found in Fort Collins. I even debated making a trip to Golden Gate Park, just to see if any long lasting harm had come to the blades of grass. Yet the highlight had to be the free beer at the conference that started to flow at 330 pm everyday. I have no idea what genius was behind this idea, but to the man or woman in charge I offer you my greatest thanks.
Not having spent much time riding my bike, the interwebs has provided me with the chance to follow those who have been riding, providing a welcome break from the blinking cursor, laughing in my face because I can’t figure out how to word the next section of my thesis. One I have become particularly fond of is, FC Bike Rant, a fellow Fort Collins rider, who knows how to ride, drink, and stop during rides to drink. I will spare you the details regarding the innerworkings of writing a master thesis, rather let you know that I could not think of a less fun way to spend my day, creating/updating/refining/altering figures, maps, and profiles. I have spent the better part of my winter break sitting in the lab either working in Photoshop and/or Illustrator, or pounding away at the keys trying to feel like I am making progress on this thesis of mine. I keep telling myself that you can’t edit or improve something that doesnt exist, so I might as well write something. Hey, at least I can turn something that is shitty into something that is decent. Luckily for me, there are plenty of folks around who keep reminding me to keep my head down and work through it all, with the payoff coming down the line.
With all that said and done, 2012 has started off well. For the time being I have made the choice to focus on taking time out of the day to get outside (while its light, i.e. bike rides). This past Thursday, Fort Collins got hit by a damn near perfect day, 60 degrees, light winds, and not a cloud in the sky. A ride was organized amongst friends, we pedaled for a bit, then headed to the bar sharing drinks, chow, and stories. Even with the mid-day break, I was more productive than I had been in the past two weeks. On tap for the future is the potential trip down to Tucson for SSAZ, all dependent on how my advisor reacts to the first portions of my thesis I submit to him. My motivation to get down there is rather high as Dirty has promised me an evening of eating whiskey, hopefully leading to a repeat performance of our final evening in Leadville this past August.by