Probably funny to only a very few people.
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Those were the words of my best friend, Mike McNamee, the summer before Junior High. He has an older brother and sister so I figured him an expert in the matter. I played sports and was good at them, but my heart was in skateboarding and BMXing. So who am I? Luckily not long after that I discovered hard core music where you could wear running shoes, be fit and still be against the status quo. I was stoked.
Now 15 years later I still cannot very easily define myself through the events I do. When the girlfriend tells people I am triathlete I cringe. No way! I just happened to do them. Besides, I have bike handling skills and hate training. I’m also called a roadie, but I’ve been dropped in CatV races (explaining to the girlfriend why I am in the beginner category despite spending my life riding a bike is a whole other funny situation). Ultra-endurance cyclist? I’ve never done any of the RAAM qualifiers solo. Fixed gear freestyler? Yawn.
A photographer from Bicycling magazine was in our house the other day and he asked what kind of riding we do. ‘Uhhhhhhh, commuting? And mountain biking. Single speed too. And some racing. And cross a bit. Double centuries? Yeah, we’ve all done a few. And I ride fixed.’
I am not going through any sort of existential crisis related to my upcoming 30th birthday, but merely going through the curiosity I have about why I do what I do. I have six bikes. Five of them are ridden regularly. I just love bike riding and am easily bored?
8.02 Vineman full-iron (triathlon)
Should I put a shock on my rigid single-speed? Anyone know someone over at Fox? They have a sweet 29er shock.
And to get stoked: Sick Of It All
My friend Lisa Auerbach who writes the Little Blog of Revolutionary Knitting has an art show up called The Tract House. Ever see those little religious pamphlets that god-types like to leave on buses, in restaurants, in restrooms and other places for the curious to pick up and page through? Lisa, being the smart and smart-ass person she is thought, why should the religious-right have a stranglehold on tiny pamphlets as a means of spreading ideology? She contacted some equally smart and smart-ass friends to write them for her, with no limitations. I wrote one that does not translate well in pdf or any other electronic means of communication (cause it’s all about little pamphlets!), but Morgan wrote a kick-ass one called Faith in Vagueness. Enjoy.
Have faith in vagueness. Live with life held in only the broadest of strokes, to be
filled in as it comes into focus. Leaving space for co-incidences will naturally lead
to co-incidences; every falling leaf must fall somewhere, every space left for chance
will meet with chance. Vagueness is beauty. The vaguest of outlines happily leads
to a missed bus, an accidental walk home
late at night; an impressionistic plan will
be achieved, albeit through necessarily
Distrust of vagueness easily falls into
facile stagnation. Where is the beauty in a
planned adventure? In a deliberate conversation?
Many things never happen because
practicality gets in the way. But they may
just work out, if you launch yourself into them with optimism and faith that your
vagueness will solidify in the process.
With this in mind, co-incidences are no longer surprising, but expected. With so
many unconnected possibilities, it is inevitable that some will be fulfilled. The more
you have trust in chance, the more you are able to trust chance. Indeed, the more
you have trust in chance, the more attuned you will be to co-incidences you would
otherwise have been blind to.
So: of course the guy sat next to you on the bus that you struck up conversation
with is best friends with a friend of yours, living 5000 miles away. Of course one of
your best friends runs into another friend in a distant city on a train platform. Of
course some friends you haven’t seen in months walk into the restaurant you’re
eating at, miles from where you live. Of course.
What am I up to on the day-to-day? I am never really sure myself. I need to make some motivational and organizational charts for my desk to keep all this in line. Here I am laying it out for the first time outside of my head.
Work- I have two part-time jobs, one doing nutrition education through a grant that originates with the Food Stamp program and one teaching two college courses. I have about 100 students, which significantly increases my workload. I’m just about full-time. Classes end the end of May.
Bikes- I am working with Alex Thompson on what is tentatively named the 5% project. It’s going to be a mass public education campaign that is not as specific as the Ride to the Ride stuff (which I am slowly distributing when I go on road rides). The Bike Writers Collective is going to help with this project and I am honored to work with them.
Swarm!- With the help of Chris we got the stickers to the printer, hope to see them this week.
Vegetarian- I work with the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietary Practice Group in a number of ways including as a student member coordinator and a co-coordinator for California. Am also heading up a media group to work with the ADA’s Spokespeople who unfortunately have continually given poor information regarding vegetarianism in mainstream articles. I just got back from our Spring meeting in Utah, so the work pile for them is pretty large.
Vegetarian Bikes- I am starting to help Organic Athlete with some more vegan diet plan stuff for some projects they have coming up this summer. Am slacking here so have recruited someone to help out.
Being smarter- On paper I am a graduate student in an MA Anthropology program. My current course is a directive study in Nutritional Anthropology. It is very difficult to do school work when you are not actually attending school.
Living- Our house is coming along quicker now that Morgan moved in. He’s on Team No Job, but thinks getting up at 630am and working on the house is some how not work. My new project is clearing the gigantic backyard. Will try to post photos soon. Some friends saw our house for the first time the other day and had two amazing quotes: ‘This isn’t LA, it’s Mississippi’ and ‘The world without us. That’s what your backyard looks like. How everything would look without humans.’
Being a Sporto- I’m still trying to keep this training schedule. But I like to skip both runs each week. Not good, considering I have a half-iron race in a week and a half. I am down to 187 pounds though!
In between all this I try to cook most of my meals, be social with people I don’t live with, call my friends in other cities, read books, etc, etc. But it’s real easy for any of that to go out the window when I get home at 8pm and am exhausted. Is anyone else this busy? Do you enjoy it?