From the Top Of The Hill

My butt's planted back in Lincoln. The livin' is easy and friends are aplenty. Life is good.

Friday, September 23, 2005

One more trip...

Well, I've been to lot's of places this summer. I'll list some stats from my journey so far:

Beds slept in: 41
Number of times I woke up wondering where I was: at least 3
Total miles traveled: 30062
miles driven: 13609
miles flown: 16453
number of times my butt went numb: 27
Countries traveled to: 4
Border Crossings: 4
Number of times I was threatened to be detained by U.S. Border Patrol: 1
Lessoned Learned: 1 (Don't sass the border patrol when he's bustin' your balls)
McDonald's eaten at: ZERO!!!
Bones fractured: 1 little one
Times I actually went for a bike ride: 11

Next I'm off to Vegas. I leave Sunday to set up for the On-Dirt Demo portion of Interbike. I'm sure there will be pictures to share and stories to tell. For now, enjoy some photos from the Nationals in Mammoth, California. The highlight for me had to be letting John Tomac share my tools while he prepped his bike for the Kamikazi -- which he won... again. (For those who aren't familiar with Johnny T., he's sorta the Michael Jordan of mountain biking.)

I had so much fun at Nationals in Mammoth, I just had to break my foot. Man, I'm such a klutz sometimes. No great story here, just rolled my foot and fractured a bone on the outer edge of my left foot. At first I thought I broke it, then the next day the swelling had gone down and I thought maybe I'd just sprained it. I hobbled around on it for a week before getting it x-rayed. Yup. Fractured. No cast though. Instead I get this groovy and fashionable boot to wear.

I've already got a bumper sticker. And yes, I CAN ride a bike with this thing, but the doctor said I shouldn't.

Team Manitou getting some advice from coach Johnny T.

Is it me, or are the national champions getting younger and younger each year? This little dude won the Shimano kids race at Mammoth. Not only did he get a medal, but an official USA National Championship jersey, too. That's gotta look pretty good on the resume of a six-year-old.

Here we see Mark Matson, Kona mechanic and all-around nice guy, wearing his Sunday best and competing in the industry cup race. After all the major competition was over, the trailers packed up and the spectators on their way home, a bunch of mechanics, vendors and anyone else left looking to have fun had a 3-lap race. Chaos ensued.

Mark on his second lap. Hmmm... must've had trouble focusing on this one.

Casualty of war. The horror... the h o r r o r

Is it me, or is Mark getting blurrier?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Back in Cali

Well, my journey to Europe is over. I had a lot of fun, met a lot of great people, ate some very interesting but tasty items and drove on the wrong side of the road--legally!

Tomorrow I leave for our last race of the season at Mammoth, and after that I'll be in Vegas for the on-dirt-demo portion of Interbike.

I'd like to tell you all more, but it's getting late, I need to re-pack and I'm tired.

A view of the Loch outside the cottage I stayed at near Fort William, Scotland.

Our European tech Odi showing his Manitou attitude.

They are really proud of their bathrooms in Scotland.

So, I was walking along the road next to Loch Ness, trying to find a good place to take a photo when I heard something rustling in the ferns. All of a sudden this creature, about the size of a VW Bug, jumped out of the trees no more than 20 yards in front of me. It bounded across the road like a large seal and dove into the Loch. I was able to take this quick picture before it disappeared from sight.

Along the shore of Loch Ness. Eeerie!!!

The castle in Edinburgh.

My rental car in Scotland. Who put the steering wheel on the wrong side? Note that it's a stick, too.

Women's World Cup Series Downhill Champion Sabrina Jonnier and me sharing a laugh in Livigno, Italy.

This car is only slightly smaller than the one Clarke and I rented.

This is Luciano and me. He was our waiter at a really good restaurant we ate at numerous times. I never understood a word he said, but he kept us well supplied in vino and grappa.

Brock's long, lost Italian twin?

I got really excited when I first saw this sign. But it turned out all the store sold was Lego's. Some pretty cool Lego's though.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Grappa Grappa Grappa

Oh, what fun I had in Livigno. The World Championships were the fucking shit. Sorry for the language, but I can't sum it up any more succinctly. I've a ton of pictures to post, but that will have to wait for another week or two. This post will have to do for now.

I spent much of the time in a crazy language blur. We had a kid working for Manitou Europe who spoke Swiss and German, but little English, and a really cool guy from Italy (former Italian moto-cross champ) who spoke no English. Somehow we found a way to drink too much Grappa together. Ohhh the Grappa. If you're not familiar, it's a drink Italians cunningly serve unsuspecting foreigners to get them way too drunk.

The race was fantastic. They had helicopters and cameras all over the course so you could watch the all the races on a jumbotron. Excluding the Euro House music, it was really cool.

And the Alps. WOW!!! I've seen more than a few mountain ranges, but nothing compares to the Alps so far. I have a few more continents to hit...

What else to say?... One of our riders, Sabrina Jonnier got second in the women's downhill. It was great but heartbreaking because she lost to (M)An-Caroline by .34 seconds. Granted, Chausson fell on her run, but still...

I'm off to Scotland next. I'll be on the lookout for any lake-dwelling, kilt-wearing monsters.