Thursday, May 24, 2007

Black Magic

I'm staring down a hot metal barrel into a sea of black. My heart is pumping noticably faster. I think I can actually feel my blood vessels dialating as my blood pushes its way through. I know the end is near and, while it pains me to think it will be over soon, my actions are only accelerating the inevitable.

How did I go through 29 years of my life in the dark? How could I have been so oblivious to the signals? Why did nobody alert me?

The next shot is imminent. I'm helpless to stop it. I draw the barrel closer to my face and watch the blackness rush down the chamber. It is all so clear now. 15% growth in world coffee exports in 2007. Starbucks franchises on every corner. Perpetual half-mile-long lineups at Tim Hortons. Coffee is magic. I can't believe this stuff is legal.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Break Time

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it."
- Ferris Bueller

Thanks to my thoughtful employer, May long weekend was extra long this year - four days, instead of just three. During the winter, I fantasized about how much riding I would do during May long weekend - something bigger than the pansy Golden Triangle. But, as the weekend approached, all I wanted was a weekend at home to relax. I indulge in as many experiences as my schedule will permit in an effort to not miss out on life, but it takes it's toll as I cram my infinite wishlist of leisure activities into my scarce leisure time. Lately, I've even had trouble finding the time for simple things such as updating my blog (there's an inverse relationship between activity in my life and activity on my blog). So, this weekend was all about taking a breather and regaining perspective.

On Friday, I think Erik and I spent more time together than we had in all of the time since our trip to Chile at Christmas. We did "boring old couple stuff" like go to Home Depot and IKEA and then eat dinner at a cookie cutter restaurant chain. It was awesome. The level of enthusiasm that Erik brings to the things he does can only be described as atomic. He makes even the mundane seem exciting - like the one dollar breakfast we had at IKEA, which he must have mentioned about a dozen times through the remainder of the day. He eminates enthusiasm. It's exciting just to be around him.
Saturday, we went to the mountains to do some mountain biking (separately, of course). I rode the trail at Lake Minawanka for the first time. Gorgeous. The first half was spectacular and I could feel myself progressively getting more comfortable with the technical challenges. Then it started to rain. Heavily. I discovered that tree roots get REALLY slippery when they are wet. My confidence on the technical stuff disappeared. I guess it was good practice, as I never willingly go mountain biking in the rain.
Saturday night was the Feist concert at the Jubilee. The opener was Chad van Gaalen, a friend from high school. I first saw him perform last year at the Sasquatch Festival. He played a great show on both occassions. He's come a long way - from entertaining a handful of juveniles in my dad's biology class by eating a piece of cow liver over a decade ago to wowing a crowd of 2500 with his musical talents and quick wit on Saturday night. Feist was excellent as well. Both seem to be cut from the same cloth. Beyond a respect for their musical talents, I admire both for their unique character and sense of self. The rest of the weekend was sort of a write off. I mean that in a good way. The snow made me disinclined to ride much, so I caught up on stuff around the house. I cut the hedges, made some serious progress on my vegetable garden, and chilled out. I like that my life moves at a quick pace, but it was sure great to take a break this weekend.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I turn 29 today. Something inside of me is conscious of the fact that I'm approaching the end of another decade and that my precious days are numbered (10,592 gone forever, approximately 20,000 to go). I'm also aware of the value that society places on youth and that I'm irreversably moving away from that. Notwithstanding these considerations, I'm excited about my birthday.

I think I actually like getting older. I find a lot of things to complain about, but life has been pretty good to me so far and it seems to just get better with time. My relationships with family and friends continue to develop in rewarding ways. Professionally, I have long surpassed many of the goals that I had when I finished school. Each year, I perceive that I become a little bit smarter (or maybe I just think I'm getting smarter). Certainly, I know myself better with each year that passes. I haven't intended to do this - it has been a byproduct of my pursuit of other objectives. Ironically, that byproduct is more valuable to me than the acheivement of those pursuits. Hmmm....the journey is more important than the destination. Damn, I guess someone already thought of this.

So, why is it that society places such a value on youth? Why does society tell us that the passing of time is something to fear? It doesn't make much sense to me. Trading your youth in exchange for experience seems like a pretty good deal to me. Experience is the real treasure. Experience has taught me who I am. Experience has given me perspective. Experience has shown me that I really haven't experienced much, yet. I'm looking forward to accumlating as much experience as I can over the next 20,000 days!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Busy Bee Survives Salty Dog

In the spirit of not taking myself too seriously, I occassionally sport a bee costume when I'm out on my bike. The yellow base increases my visibility, making it great for safety. The black bands act as a highly efficient heat sink, while the non-breathable felt fabric is effective at ensuring no heat escapes. These are great features in the spring and fall, when an a little extra warmth goes a long way. These are less than ideal features during a six hour mountain bike race in 20 degree heat. I discovered this yesterday during the Salty Dog Enduro race in Salmon Arm.

I rode with my Transrockies partner, Cindy, for most of the race. It was our first chance to ride together and I think it went quite well. She's patient and courteous, and she didn't seem bothered by being chased by a bee for several hours. The gap between us didn't seem insurmountable. Of course, that was the first three and a half laps and I was feeling reasonably good. The last lap and a half wasn't pretty, so it was probably a good thing that I was on my own. Cindy might like riding with a honey bee, but I'm not sure she'd be keen on riding with a killer bee.

Six hours is a surprisingly long time on a mountain bike. The heat of the bee suit didn't help, but I was still glad I wore it. It functioned as a giant billboard to fellow racers to 'pass with caution'. More importantly, the jokes and comments from racers and spectators really contributed to my energy level, especially on the last (painful) hour of the race.

In the end, I hammered out five laps, (fifty five kilometres) in five hours and fifty five minutes. I couldn't have done another lap - I was bee-t.

An equally important acheivement for the day was a great first ride with my Transrockies partner. I've got work to do, but I think it's going to be a great partnership.

Friday, May 4, 2007

License to Ill

Check out what I got in the mail this week!