Looking back over the last few blog posts, it was an amazing run...Crater Lake. Arcata. Ring of Fire. Tillamook Double. Tejas Time Trials. Furnace Creek. Double Trouble. Seven weeks of (almost) nonstop biking. When I wasn't biking, I was getting ready for biking, or crewing someone else who WAS biking. I set two course records. I traveled enough that my credit card got put on fraud alert (always a sign of a good time....).
I'll freely admit - I love road trips. If you're patient - if you shut up, turn off the gadgets, and just watch and listen - you'll see what America is really all about - good, bad, and ugly, but mainly good. I was incredibly lucky to get to just go, do, and experience. You haven't lived until you've had Sunday dinner at the Dinner Bell in Muleshoe, Texas. (Yes, in Texas, on Sunday, any meal that takes place after church lets out is "dinner".)
I wouldn't trade all of the experiences I had during that stretch for all the tea in China, or even - since I'm not much of a tea drinker - for the lost wages of not having a regular job during that time. It was just what the doctor ordered - a lot of riding, a lot of friends, a lot of variety. It kept me sane during what would've almost certainly been the Great Post RAAM Crash of 2010. And it lasted just long enough.
By the time I found myself at the Imperial River Company, taking in the post-ride festivities for the inaugural Double Trouble, dirty-dancing with a tipsy, cross-dressed clown wasn't even close to the weirdest experience I'd had recently - and although I had a great time, I knew that the party was over and that I was looking forward to....home.
|disclaimer: I am not in this picture.|
So I packed up my last few things, put Cog in the passengers' seat, and headed to Arcata, CA.
Yep. I've moved to Arcata - aka the Team Raven Lunatic Asylum. Wanting to be here kinda crept up on me. The smaller town feel is great, and I really like the way that the university integrates with the town. The people I've met are warm, welcoming....The question I heard the most? "When are you coming back?"
When I visited in September, Mary left a stack of job announcements beside the bed in my guest room. I'm pretty decent at taking hints, so I started applying...and before you know it, I landed a part-time job at HealthSPORT in Eureka. Bill offered me a place to stay for the time being. Just like that - I'm moving to Arcata.
Everything happened so fast that the last couple of weeks of my whirlwind tour ended up doubling as the world's craziest moving party! Mark Biedrzycki offered the use of his oversized van for the bulk of the move. Getting that van ready to go was a multi-day affair. Typical of a Mark-induced adventure, it was rife with gallery openings, crazy amazing meals, cyclocross, and a trip to the Oregon Handmade Bike show - a quick overview of Portland culture - stuff I'll miss, for sure, but I know it's going to be there when I visit.
I'd figured that I'd be able to move the bulk of the stuff down on Monday, and have a few days to regroup before heading back for Double Trouble, but technical difficulties - a delaminated tire, a quick(?) trip to the DMV - meant that I spent a couple extra days in Portland. Finally, I got the van loaded with (most of) my stuff and headed south. I called Bill to let him know that I was en route, to which he replied, "the house is ready for you".
"The house is ready for you"...After all of my wandering, that just sounded amazing. I've tried to think of things that I've heard that were that good or better. So far, the best I've been able to come up with is, "ten fingers, ten toes, and perfectly healthy".
And the house was ready. The time and effort that Bill put into making room for another person - complete with a suite of bike paraphernalia that's unrivaled outside of a retail store - amazing. To say that I felt warmly welcomed doesn't do it justice.
|Bill's doormat. When you're here, you are here.|
Then - after an all-too-short day on Thursday emptying out the van and trying to put things where they weren't horribly in the way of a well-ordered existence - I headed back early Friday. Once more into the breach...dumped off Mark's van, picked up mine, and headed to Maupin for a bit of a bike ride...
|ok, I AM in this picture. We're between Grass Valley and Moro.|
Next projects: settling in, rebuilding top-end speed, and in general getting ready for my revenge on Sebring. I had a great race there last year, and I want to do better.