Life On Two Wheels

Along the river and toward the mountains a morning shadow shimmers across the road. The rays of the first light jet through the trees and across a figure gliding upon the road. His breath trails in short spurts, petrified as it hits the icy air. All is quiet except the slight sound of the athlete as he summons himself for yet another days work. Soon the rest of the world will bustle with life as well and the brief simplicity of cyclist and nature will disappear into the everyday struggle of life in full motion; the errands and intervals, the appointments and intersections, and the deadlines and finish lines OutPaceTheRace

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Liv'n it up, not giv'n a...

Silver city, NM

It’s bizarre how such a small, obscure town could command my presence on so many occasions. It’s some 150 miles from the closest airport (elPaso, Texas) and hosts a bike race that, over the years, has managed to push itself into the upper echelon of bike races in the US... though it remains fairly low on the short list of big events. Regardless, Silver city brings back some timeless memories of the past, and always garners a visit when the moment presents itself.
The team isn't actually going to be taking this one on, so I'm going italone so to speak- something of a pro-bono pursuit if you will. I always cherish the occasion that allows me to return to silver city though, and this is a perfect opportunity... Just to reiterate what you already know. Perhaps it’s something to do with the wind-swept environment, or the remoteness of the place. Or maybe it’s the respect I have for the working man, the blue collar life and a good honest day on the job. Or maybe it’s a combination of everything, but regardless of what happens life slows down and everyone takes a moment to relax. Anyway, with resort vibes aside, I'm here to race, and if my credit score let's me rent a car I’ll be the first one on the line and the first one up the hill at the end of the first stage. I’ll also be the first one to carry two liters of water on my bike in the 21st century, they zoned that out several years ago with the invention of the feed zone, but as I am without such trivial conveniences in the middle of the desert at altitude, I rinsed out my grandfathers old bottles and installed them on my bike. Simple fixes to the most complex problems... Amazing how the team staff is able to solve these sort of problems without me around. Really- I don't know how they do get by. But, here I am... Back in black, flying over the Rockies for a short jaunt in Denver before I board the Texan pride in route to el Paso and rent some wheels for the trip to silver city. It should be fun, but above all else answer the question that I've been asking myself repeatedly for the last month n a half "should they let Levi ride or not???”... Wait wrong question, "is it over, or will the vendettas be rectified?"

Friday, April 18, 2008

Saving the environment


On the last segment of my training a few hapless days ago I came across someone worse than hapless; pathetic. He entered my sights from afar and as I locked on the blood began to boil and all sorts of unbecoming thoughts flooded into my mind… one of which was sending him into a ditch. I was shocked to see it and shock frequently leads to disregard for common law, but in this case I got the better of myself, settling for a simple blow by and almost a gesture of disbelief. The problem was that there was someone wearing a rock racing jersey in a town where no one wears cycling apparel beyond the stuff you find at payless or whatever. This guy had to go out of his way to get his hands on this crap. I should’ve pushed him into the ditch.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008



It’s easy. Clean it, rinse it, ride it. Repeat. There are few people who fully understand this concept, but in the midst of the chaos frequently he who endures is he who maintains focus and cohesion throughout.
I had thought that the darkness would withdraw, but after tests, tests, and more tests the final diagnosis was ulcerative colitis- the lesser of the two “disorders” that make up the family of inflammatory bowel disease. It is essentially chronic inflammation of the cells in the tissue of the large intestine. Fortunately the inflammation is microscopic in my case; normally the colon is literally tied up in knots, making digestion a very unpleasant and altogether unproductive process. In extreme cases the large intestine is surgically removed… however, at the moment this hasn’t been prescribed, I pushed for it… but the doc really wasn’t having it. Instead he prescribed a topical anti-inflammatory medication to take for the rest of my life; noting that his remedy should not only put the inflamed cells into remission but also make me profoundly better on the bike, as he gathered that the cells had possibly been inflamed for a year.
Since no one really knows anything about ulcerative colitis, there is no cure… only hopeful treatment. There are two main hypotheses in regard to the cause of the illness, the first of which is that it’s past down from kin. The second is that your digestive system never recovers from a particular bout with a digestive virus. As there is no family history and I’ve been battling viruses on a fairly regular basis, it seems the virus theory holds the most water, though of course with holes... as it doesn’t seem much funding is received by the crohne’s and colitis foundation.
What the doctor doesn’t tell you sometimes is the best remedy of all. After a bit of research and some chats with patients of the above, it seems that a diet strictly of macrobiotic ingredients leaves patients symptom free. It seems that something of this nature that cures an otherwise terminal illness would make it into the doctor’s manual of “what to say to patients.” But apparently not, since when I asked the doc about it he replied “I don’t recommend diet change to my clients.” It’s like being prescribed a diet is worse than the illness itself. For me, however, it’s more of a solution to perhaps a whole host of problems and a challenge that will probably leave me for the better regardless of the outcome.
In the meantime I’ve been to visit the physical therapist a few times, and each time with mixed feelings. Most of the stuff I could do myself, though we’ll see after the next visit. These guys seem to be all the same… like going to an auto shop: yes, you’ll need this, this and this done on your car and it’s really not safe to drive unless you get these repairs done. So that will come to 5x the value of your car. And they look at you like they really expect you to agree to the repairs.
And the preliminary prognosis for my immediate racing return is:
Tour of the Gila
Tour of Catalan
Some race in Portugal
Route of the south

Friday, April 04, 2008



The state’s in a crossroads at the moment, and the worst of the lot is that I can’t say exactly which way to go. And when the case is as such it’s best to avoid making the decision yourself. As the Sun Tzu says the fight is chaotic, yet one is not subject to chaos. When it has rained upstream the stream’s flow intensifies. Stop fording, wait for it to calm. So I’ve outsourced the decision to professionals in the matter… Mr. md. It’s all like a big puzzle that makes a bit of sense when you match a couple pieces, but then no matter how you’ve gone about it, the last piece doesn’t fit… or goes to an entirely different puzzle. It’s almost best to grab all the damn pieces and throw ‘em out the window, go to the doctor and start anew. Perhaps it’s not fun or much for the confidence but it’s the way it’s got to be done and who knows, I’ll probably be better when the bout is over, just not content. You’ve gotta live your life like there’s one more road to cross, anyway.Before the world was in disarray I was scheduled to do Criterium and two French cup races before flying home on the 7th… despite my absolutely atrocious skills on the bike… with emphasis on my performance at Criterium, which pretty much cemented the looming feeling that Paris-Nice’s temporary lantern rouge status wasn’t due to an untimely and disastrous crash* on the second stage, but instead to a boding gastro dysfunction. At the time of Paris-Nice I knew something was wrong because just weeks prior I’d been riding like DMX himself couldn't stop me, yet there I was, in last place after 7 days of hell… when I was supposed to be the legend of hell himself… or so I’d thought and hoped; my confidence was so high that at times I’d float, but then there I was… decomposing in yet another crap French race. How could this happen when I’ve been waiting for this year all my life? The answer is that I couldn’t answer the question then ‘cause I wasn’t willing to accept that stuff was going downhill. Now I have to… because yesterday the team decided that I was going to accept it by buying me a ticket home and I’m on my way from Barcelona to London where I make a transfer and board a direct flight to Seattle. 9 Hours to sit staring at the seat in front of me with an occasional glance out the window at Greenland, Quebec, and Canada to think wow, must suck down there and decide that Ice’s got vendettas and when “they” really start talking I’ll be back and stronger than ever… so hold your breath cause its not over yet.

*I got x-rayed yesterday that revealed an avulsion fracture on my shoulder