Monday, June 12, 2017

What Happened to Bike Boy (?)

I've been meaning to write this for the last four years. Every time I log into Blogger (a rare event), I see that the vast majority of my posts are drafts. One is titled "Life," another "One Post, Eight Years."
I got desperately close to finishing something about a year ago and typed up a draft that included about four pictures and 500 words. However, my creativity failed me, and my self-consciousness did not.

The thought has irked me for a while now that I need to put some sort of note on my blog. A preface, a disclaimer, so to speak. I would never delete my archived blog posts, but I rarely can bring myself to read them. It's as if a different person wrote them—someone with a completely different set of interests and motivations.

So I feel that an explanation of my life is order. Where I've been, what I've been doing and why I stopped blogging. Not because I need to apologize you, but because many of you read this blog faithfully and might enjoy the closure. Closure is a nice thing to share, I think.

My ability to write in lengthy prose has suffered significantly after three years of journalism school and inverted pyramids, so these bullet points—in the closest thing to chronological order—must suffice. I've also learned that readers are attracted to white space, hence the line breaks.

  • I started on May 17, 2007. That was the birthday of my elder sister, Maria, and if I did the math correctly, she turned 15 that day. I was nearing my 13th birthday. As a kid, I knew that I really liked two things: cycling and writing. Emphasis on the cycling. I had been reading other cycling blogs from local riders and thought it would be the coolest thing if I were to interact with them in the blogosphere. 
  • I raced my heart out while living in Michigan from 2007 to 2009 and made sure that I wrote about it as often as possible (while inserting as many references to Christianity as I thought would bring God glory). I loved this time of life, and I made several lifelong friends during it. There are too many people than the acceptable number of shout-outs would befit, but if you look at the comment sections of many of my old blogs, you'll see that much of my life revolved around those people. And that was not a bad thing.
  • I loved Michigan. My family, my neighbors, my youth group, my high school, my soccer teams, my cycling teams: essentially everything except the Winter-induced Seasonal Affective Disorder that so many Michigangsters— I mean, Michiganders — endure. But the Winter meant that the Red Wings were playing, and I freaking loved the Red Wings.
  • I was a really socially awkward kid going into Middle School, and many will say that I still am [a socially awkward kid], but I pretty much always felt welcomed. Lately, I've been remembering how Jim Hughes let me stuff him into a large, sealed trash bin for 2 hours as a White Elephant gift. To this day, I will never understand (1) why a person would be that gracious to me and (2) how Jim managed to survive 2 hours in that trash can with minimal air holes. Thank you, Jim, if you're there.
  • Alexey Vermeuelen was one of the biggest reasons for why my passion for cycling blossomed as a kid. You might not believe it, but I actually outsprinted him in a couple of criteriums back in the day, although the jury's still out on whether or not he let me beat him at the Kensington Road Race in 2007. But that's disingenuous of me to say, because Alexey is way too competitive for that. He helped me see how important teamwork is to cycling, and not just to cycling, but to all of sports and all of life. And to him and the rest of the AAVC and SLC gang, I'll always be fondly grateful.
ToKV Road Race, circa 2008
  • I've forgotten how catastrophic the 2008 recession was for Michiganders. It sent my family to Arizona to start a new life. New house, new school, new church, new cycling scene. 
  • I hated Arizona at first. Like, really hated it, but everything takes time. Soon enough, I was on the school soccer team, creating a role for myself as the Village Idiot in the "Robin Hood" play and training hard on the bike with my dad. When the old things go away, sometimes the new things arrive with a sense of familiarity.
  • For the next few years, I had a blast in Arizona. Jake Spelman and I befriended each other in late 2009 and went on to become a dynamic—if not zany—junior cycling duo. And the list of teammates and competitors that I got to know went on and on: Josh PF, Stephen M, Kenny P, Taylor S, and Owen G were just a few of the really cool junior cyclists that I spent time with, not to mention the fine folks at DNA Cycles Racing. Every ride, be it alone, with my dad, in a group, or at a race, was worthwhile. 
  • In 2011, I felt like I was on top of the world. I made the L'Abitibi team at regional camp, traveled North America for races and published a play at my school. From my perspective, that was what it was like to really live.  My belief at the time was that God had made me to race my bike, and that racing it well would somehow make it happy. I now fail to understand how that all fit together, but it made perfect sense to me at the time.
Our play, circa 2011. The death scene I wrote for myself was painfully long, according to my dad.

  • I sustained femeroacetabular impingement in both of my hips in 2012. That's the injury that just sidelined Isaiah Thomas from the NBA playoffs (prediction: he won't be the same player when he comes back, if he ever does). This really sucked, as I had signed up to race for a cool new cycling team (Winded) and was looking forward to my final year in the junior category. It also sucked not being able to run, walk or even sit without pain for a solid two years. 
  • I spent 2012 and 2013 pining over my cycling career that had been put on hold. When I wasn't going from physical therapy appointment to surgeon appointment to therapy appointment, I found that my former time spent riding my bike left a big hole. I decided to get more involved in church, seeing as my cycling friends were all out riding. I hate to admit that something as silly as a bicycle would cause this, but I was pretty depressed.
Church college group party, circa 2012
  • I started college at ASU in 2012 as an English major. For a while I wanted to write plays or screenplays professionally, and I wrote almost as I often as I had trained on the bike.
  • I got hip surgeries in 2013 and successfully recovered. But I found that I didn't have the heart to return to racing. Many of my friends had moved on to different places in life, and pain still lingered in my hips (though perhaps it was just psychological). I still love cycling. I love to watch it and fondly remember my races, but the sport is no longer part of my life. It's just not the same as it used to be.
  • I quit the English department at ASU and decided to cut my teeth in the journalism program. This proved to be a great decision, one that taught me to be a more gutsy person and pay attention to detail. It also gave me an appreciation for how everyone has a story and that someone needs to tell those stories.
  • My friends and I created a sport called Flappery. The sport is in someways a parody of itself, but we enjoy it, and I look forward to our fourth annual season this year. I've found some really great friends, and I wouldn't trade the times we've had for the world.
  • I found that following Jesus was not a matter of being a fast bike racer who happened to be a Christian. I believe it is, instead, a matter of knowing Jesus, and having him change and mold your life into one that reflects him into the world. I regret that I so often gave others a picture of my ego rather than a picture of Jesus. I used to be so afraid that people would judge me for being a Christian, but that's totally different now. I wish I had shown you more about Jesus than my political diatribes and more about Jesus than my self-righteous rants about religion. The more I learn about Jesus, the harder it becomes to think of a person that I would rather be like. Seriously. 
  • Somewhere along the line, Michael Tait ran the Newsboys and their music into the ground.

So where does that leave me now?

  • I graduated from Cronkite in 2016. I spent my last year and a half of school interning and contracting for the same company, which promptly hired me full-time. I write for a trade magazine. We cover business technology, you know, like cloud computing, IT security and storage... all that jazz. I'm a tech journalist. The writing is dry, but my boss rocks, the company is full of solid human beings, and I get to work from home. And anyone who knows me well knows that I'm a bit of a homebody.
  • I haven't straddled a road bicycle in three years. Someone from church rides my Look 595, and my legs are hairier than a gorilla's. I still play fantasy cycling and recently re-installed my "Pro Cycling Manager" computer game. I created all of my cycling peeps as a custom riders, and we we had a few great seasons (Alexey recently won the Tour-Vuelta double, and I got to play the role of a superdomestique).
  • I have enrolled in Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's online Master of Divinity program. I started a Greek class last week and find it fascinating. Although I was supposed to do homework tonight but spent my time on this blog post instead. The last few years have made it very clear to me that I would like to be a pastor some day. It's an excitement and at the same time a weight that I feel. I see the worlds of the sacred and the secular clashing, and I often feel stuck in the middle. And I jolly well think I could help other people who find themselves stuck there as well. I lead my church's college ministry, and the grateful doesn't begin to describe how I feel about the opportunity. The challenge of developing a mission statement and then getting people to buy into it is incredibly difficult but seems to be such an enjoyable challenge. All that to say, I'm really excited for the future.
Ushering at a wedding in South Dakota, circa 2016
  • 2016 was the year when my friends started getting married. I traveled to two out-of-state weddings. Once I travelled with my family. The other time I travelled with a group of friends, including an optimistic red-headed fellow named Alex. Then Alex decided to hitch his wagon to Maria's, and another wedding was born. That was my first time as a groomsman, and not the last, I expect. Don't expect a wedding invitation from me any time soon. I'm not averse to the idea, but I've time and time again proven myself incompetent in the girl department. And, as Stuart Smalley would say, "that's okay."
  • I was the assistant coach for a high school soccer team last Fall, and I will do it again this year. I loved practicing, scrimmaging and running with the team. Although I don't ride my bike, I haven't turned into a complete coach potato, although I'm sure my mom wishes I would play less EA Sports on my Gamecube.
  • My friend Sam and I are looking to move out this summer. We have yet to see if I'm all talk, but I think the departure is quite likely. Things have been great with my parents, and I love living with them. But I think I'm nearing that next step in my adult life where I get used to being outside of my comfort zone. I am 22, after all.
  • My little sister goes to school in Tucson, and my older sister lives in the The Bronx with Alex. My parents are great roommates, and my dad brews some of my favorite cider. My mom and I sometimes watch the Detroit Tigers together (I "borrowed" Alex's MLB TV account), and my dad joins in when he isn't threatening to become a D-Backs fan. My mom is a patient listener and one of the wisest people I know. My dad, in addition to being a major influence on me asa person, has an excellent taste in movies (notably, Wes Anderson's) and loves to make Big Lebowski references about me. This is because I work from home and often can be spotted wearing a bathrobe.
That's Jeff Bridges, not me.
  • I remain an obstinate Detroit Lions fan.
  • My friends think that I make too many Lost references. I started the show earlier this year, and am nearing its completion. It rocks. As do Stranger Things and Prison Break (but not the new season of Prison Break, of course). And Twin Peaks is showing promise. There's nothing like a good character-driven story. I also definitely had a South Park phase, but such a disclosure is not fit for public consumption. Or, whatever. 
  • I went through depression a couple of years ago (unrelated to the cycling injury) but rebounded majorly thanks to an abundance of support and resources. Life often looks and feels (and is) grim, but light always shine through, be it ever so tiny.
  • I still use the word "pizza" as a profanity, along with words like "solid," "juicy" and "savage."
  • I'm a big fan of Skye Jethani and have always been perplexed as to why evangelicals don't know much about him. 
  • I turned into a political junkie during the last presidential primary but now realize that to be a vanity and striving after the wind—so to speak.
  • Domenico Pozzovivo remains my favorite cyclist. Gotta love the little guys.
  • I became a big twenty one pilots fan three years ago, but I went into hiding when they hit massive radio popularity. I will rise some day. And you'll probably judge me for this, but Eminem and Kanye West have really grown on me over the years. 
  • I often contemplate going through my Facebook and deleting all the rash things I said over the years. And then I remind myself that living in guilt is silly.
  • I don't use the Oxford comma any more. For many people, this is the most offensive thing about me.
Did I miss anything? If you were a loyal reader of the blog, thank you so much for your patience. To all, thanks for reading!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Le Tour de France 2013: Predictions

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? An explosion. The 2013 Tour de France pits Chris Froome and his fellow Sky People against some of the strongest teams the Tour has ever fielded. There ought to be fireworks, and not the pathetic little sparkler show we witnessed last year.

Yellow Jersey

  1.      Froome
I cannot execute proper reason without predicting Froome as the winner of the Tour de France. His condition is just as good (if not better) than in last year’s race. Like the Wiggins of 2012, the 2013 Froome has dominated the weeklong stage races, and just like the Wiggins of 2012, the Froome of 2013 has not “peaked out”. He does not need an army of Sky People in order to win. I believe that he is the best climber in the race and arguably the best time trialer (certainly among the contenders).
Froome’s testing ground will be in the “transitional” stages, not in the mountain top finishes. He lost Tirreno-Adriatico on a hilly day, and Wiggins collapsed in the undulating first week of the Giro. Katusha, Movistar, Saxobank, and Garmin need to attack on stages 2 and 3. The more entropy, the better.

      2.      Contador
He’s strong and feisty, and his team is better than ever, but I can’t see him winning. I think Froome will mark him in the mountains, and the time trial is no longer an area of advantage for Alberto. Contador will hold nothing back, and a second place finish will not satisfy him. I’m so excited to watch the Spaniards throw everything they have at Sky.

He is so underrated. He podiumed in two grand tours last year, removed from the Vuelta win by one bad day. I expect him to win a mountain top finish. I wish that there were punchy stages in the race, but unfortunately, ASO (the people who make the route) don’t really understand the concept of a punchy/hilly stage. J-Rod will get along just fine, however. Katusha’s squad is built around him, and he is extremely motivated. I think his time trialing will not bother him too much. The flat TT shouldn’t cost him more than 2 minutes, he will go top 10 in the mountainous TT, and Katusha will contend for the win in the team time trial. If he wants to win the Tour, he will need to climb at an even higher level.  

       4.      Porte
Last year he finished 30th in the service of Wiggins, but his job is different now. He’ll be doing what Froome did last year, being the last domestique remaining to set the pace on the final climb. I think Froome and his main challenger will put a bit of time into Porte on the mountain top finishes, but Porte will consistently finish in the top 10. His time trialing will restore him to a top 5 position. I don’t think there will be a Sky controversy. In terms of strength Froome was closer to Wiggins than Porte is to Froome. Richie accepts his place.

       5.      Valverde
I picked Valverde to win the 2008 Tour and later vowed to never do that again. Last year, I picked him to finish 8th, and he completely fell apart. He did, however, win a stage and strut his stuff at the Vuelta. The Green Bullet has the support of Movistar, and he should perform similarly to Rodriguez in the TTs. History has taught me to distrust Alejandro Valverde, but the 2012 Vuelta taught me to never discard him.

       6.      Van Garderen
I would first like to say that winning the Tour of California means very little. Very very little. I’m sick of the hype NBC Sports gives him, but I know that I cannot let my emotions run me. Tejay has performed consistently this season (Paris-Nice, Tour of Cali, Tour de Suisse, Criterium Int’l, etc.), and his 2012 Tour performance gives him further credibility.  However, when the poop hits the fan in the mountains, he won’t hang with Froome.

       7.      Quintana
A  completely focused Nairo Quintana would podium at the Tour de France. During the final week, he will be climbing and time trialing with the best. The question is, will he do that during the second week? I think he will make some sacrifices for Valverde.

       8.      Schleck
I believe in Andy Schleck. His performance in the Tour de Suisse was the same as it always is. Although he struggled to finish some races, Schleck’s 2013 season has been similar to past years: based around the Tour. He will match the big guns in the mountains, but I don’t think that will be enough for a podium.

        9.      Pinot
He claims that he cared more about Suisse than the Tour de France, but that is irrelevant. He was a last minute call-up to the Tour in  2012, and he still pulled off a top 10 and a stage win. He has a much shorter leash now, so he’ll have to gain time by fighting mano-a-mano in the mountains. I don’t think he will rise to the top this year, even though he may do so in the future. The time has not yet come.

        10.  Van den Broeck
He has to be the most underrated GC contender. He has finished 4th in two different Tours, but people are embarrassed to support him. He focuses on the Tour like Andy Schleck, so you can’t judge his season until July is over. While VDB looked awful in the Daupine, I think there’s still something there.

         11.  Talansky
I believe that he will be the most consistent rider on Garmin. While he may not climb as well as Hesjedal or pack the punch of Martin or race aggressively like Hesjedal, Talansky’s time trialing is superior to that of his teammates. His performance in last year’s Vuelta assured me of his durability, and his exploits at Paris-Nice and other shorter stage races have revealed his potency.

         12.  Fuglsang
He time trials well and climbs decently enough. Furthermore, he has a strong Astana team around him. 12th place would be an incredible accomplishment for Fuglsang, considering all of the strong riders taking the start. Ultimately, he won’t climb well enough to make a significant mark on the race.

          13.  Evans
Cuddles will ride safely in the first week and go into the first rest day incredibly close to the Maillot Jaune. That’s how he always does it. However, I think Evans will fade on Ventoux and following mountain stages. His Giro-Tour double won’t cause him to fall apart as he did in 2010, but it certainly will limit him.

          14.  Moreno
As the leader of Katusha, he could ride into the top 10. However, he is perfectly content to sacrifice for Rodriguez. The sacrifice may manifest itself in Moreno attacking, leading to the possibility of Moreno winning a stage. We will see how Katusha plays it, but they need to keep Moreno in GC contention so that his attacks will put pressure on Sky and give J-Rod an advantage.

           15.  Mollema
I don’t trust him fully, but I think he is improving as a GC rider. With the full support of Belkin and the hopes of his country, Mollema will do his best to fight it out in the mountains. However, I just don’t see him as a serious contender.

Green Jersey
            1.      Sagan
It’s simple. His competitors can’t compete with him on the transitional stages. He’s going to take the jersey by a landslide.

            2.      Greipel
He was able to best Cav last year, and this year brings similar circumstances. Greipel is far more rested and focused. His leadout train is just as good.

             3.      Cavendish
He will manage three stage wins, but the thing with Cavendish is that he’ll either be first or twentieth. That does not bode well for consistency. Plus, riding the Giro was not advantageous to his Tour de France preparation.

             4.      Kittel
Kittel is due for a stage win, but last year’s Tour reminded us of his fragility. He struggled with a stomach bug, well before he reached mountains. This year, I believe he will struggle to survive the time cut.

              5.      Ferrari
He has demonstrated the ability to knock off top sprinters (figuratively and literally). Lampre will support him with riders like Malori, Cimolai, and Favilli.

Polka-Dot Jersey
                  1. Cunego
             2. Jon Izagirre
             3. Gadret
             4. Clarke
             5. Hoogerland

Cunego needs to come away with something. I think he can take this competition if he makes it a serious objective.  

White Jersey
               1. Van Garderen
               2. Quintana
               3. Pinot
               4. Talansky
               5. Jon Izagirre

Sunday, February 24, 2013

An Update on 2013

I decided to breathe a bit of life into this blog. If you look at its archive, you will see that my number of posts has been steadily decreasing since 2007. Last year, the amount dropped to 39. Because my blog's url is "boy on bike", my absence from the bike spurred me to a profound sense of "literary nihilism". Forgive me if that was a poor use of the word "nihilism". I tried my hardest.

I suppose I'm not the best at self-disclosure, particularly regarding my hip. I'm often incredulous as to why so many people ask me how my hip feels. For some reason, I expect them to know my physical condition without being told. I don't self-disclose. My hope is that this blog post will partially remedy that issue.

As I said in a previous blog post, I was diagnosed with femoroacetabular impingement in both of my hips. In December I had arthroscopic surgery on my right side. I will soon have the left side done. So far I'm not feeling much improvement, but the surgeon says that is normal. However, the right side clearly feels better than the un-operated left, and that's a good sign. I'm looking at 4-6 months until I can begin training/racing and a year until the symptoms go away completely. I don't have a complete plan, such as how I will prevent the injury from reoccurring, but certain things are out of my control.

Last fall, I started at ASU Polytechnic as an English major. I commuted to school, thinking that I would be spending my free time on my bicycle. Regardless, there was an utterly miniscule chance of living in the dorms. Polytechnic was a convenient place to take care of my Gen Eds, but for the long term, it's just not the place for me. I came to the conclusion that I don't want to be an English major. I enjoy the English language and its products, but I hate how professors read into things. Learning about literary criticism made me want to gouge my eyes out with a rusty spoon. There are no hard feelings.
In the fall I will start in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Downtown Phoenix (ASU). I don't know all the details, but I know I have made the right choice. Because I hate change, a boatload of conviction is required in order for me to change my environment.

Personally, this year has been a huge improvement. Being at the races is actually enjoyable. I love being on Team Winded and having the position to influence my teammates. They are great kids; I can only imagine how enjoyable it would be to race with them (pretty enjoyable, I'm guessing). Since I've stopped racing, two cool things have come up for me: coaching and announcing. I train a handful of athletes (from Winded), and it has been a great experience. It makes me feel more invested in the racing. I've announced four races thus far. I enjoy it (not as much as racing), and find it to be a great excuse for going to a race. I'd like to pursue announcing further, especially if the hip thing doesn't work out. All-in-all, many opportunities I did not expect have come to me since I was injured.
 I don't know what my life will look like a year from now, but I will trust God. He cares for me. I really struggled with my injury and college last year, but God used those moments to teach me. Enjoyable circumstances, and good athletic performance are extremely fleeting. I will keep on saying that... because it is true.
That's what I've learned. Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom of the page. Have a lovely day.

Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Bike Boy Awards

Hi folks! It took me a long time, but I never gave up hope. Here are your 2nd Annual Bike Boy Awards for Arizona. Enjoy!


Most Improved: I think we can all agree that Jesse Gilmer didn’t kick butts last year. It was his year first racing and a short year at that. He progressed in 2012 as he took advantage of his strengths. Made in the mold Nathan Franklin, Gilmer made strong showings at the State Road Race and Gila and asserted his will at Mount Graham. Doubtless, he has further potential unlock.

Best Crit Racer: Kenny Polley was another one of those obvious winners. Although he was not necessarily dominant at climbing or time trialing, K-Poll was the king of the crit in 2012. Out of 25 crits entered, he podiumed 15 times and won 8 times. He won every third race he entered, which, as we all can agree, is not normal.

Best Time Trialer: Ryan Geiger did things many people would call freakish. He rolled a 31 at VOS and smoked the State Time Trial in 26:36. The guy has an engine.

Best Mountain Goat: In a year when I thought there would be no pure climbers, Scott Ford stepped into the role. His performance at Regional Camp was doubtless his greatest achievement,

Most Consistent: Although I think many overlooked him, Donovan Caputo had a season to be envied. At the State Crit he took advantage of his “dark horse” status bridge up to the winning breakaway, a feat of tactics and strength. His L’Abitibi qualification rewarded a year of constant effort.

Best Team: Junior cycling really grew this year, reflected in the teams. This year saw Strada’s fall from numerical dominance- although their presence was still felt- to make way for other Valley teams. Two Wheel Jones more or less maintained their 2011 involvement, and Fly Racing emerged with Team Winded. El Grupo’s community of racers and Landis’ brother tandem ran steady once more. Yuma Bike Club made strides in consistency. However, it’s my opinion that Team Winded brought plentiful participation and solid competition to Arizona cycling. I’m quite comfortable giving this award to my own team. One cannot tell who will take the prize next year. Speculations infer that most of Two Wheel and Fly’s riders have been absorbed by Landis and Winded, and most pundits predict a showdown between the two Phoenix giants, leaning toward Landis- but be wary, be very wary of a dark horse.

Junior Rider of the Year: Taylor Skinner is not Danny Eaton, biologically or results-wise. However, Danny was 18 when he won this award, and Taylor is an underclassman. In February, Skinner tickled the Phenom tag that mankind so often assigns. His performances at VOS and Avondale were impressive to say the least. Although remains to be seen how much development Taylor has in store after two and a half years of rapid improvement, one can expect him to attack the 2013 season with great fervor.

 Masters Men
40-44 Rider of the Year: The spectators of masters’ crits felt an air of inevitability as James Kramer rode at a high level. The argument that Brian Forbes had more wins stands, but I’m of the opinion that Brian falls in to the “Cat 1/2” group. They certainly reinforced the fast reputation of the Master’s category. Kramer earned my gut inclination, and I’m interested to see how he would do in a deeper foray into the Cat 1/2 field.

45-49 Rider of the Year: This was the norm for 2012; in crits, Faster was the biggest and strongest, and in road races, GST was the biggest and strongest. Jim Silverman once again dominated the Copper Cup. 8th at VOS, 2nd at TBC, and 3rd in the State crit and road race. After the phenomenal spring campaign, he and GST annihilated the summer races. One must wonder if Landis/Faster/Southwest/RPM will grow more competitive in road or break GST’s four year State TTT winning streak. Interestingly enough, it was Silverman leading Rideclean to defeat GST’s TTT in 2008. Anyone else noticing a pattern?

50-54 Rider of the Year: Golly, masters racers sure were impressive this year. Keith Brodhagen was very difficult to beat, especially in the context of his age category. Although he wasn’t dominant going uphill, Brodhagen rode great in everything else. He challenged himself with out-of-state races and often entered the 45+ category, complementing a studly Faster line-up. It took a brave solo win from Jeff Biever to prevent him from sealing the State Crit.

55-59 Rider of the Year: Lionel Space won a lot of races, enough to take away the title Dave Bixby seemed to own. Although Space lacks versatility, his sprinting ability is extremely... able.

60+ Rider of the Year: Curveball. Franz Hammer didn’t win it. Reginald Dowdall is my pick. Each man won every single state championship they entered and won their respective Copper Cup (Hammer 75+, Dowdall 65-69), but Dowdall was the clear choice. How could I not be swayed when the guy goes under 1:50 on Mount Graham?

Junior Woman of the Year: I believe the category had a good year, and I look forward to how 2013 goes for these ladies. Andrea Arriaga is my pick for this award. Honestly, I don’t know what more she could have done to earn this beside going undefeated and finishing a 20k in 35:51. I truly hope she and her fellow racers stick to it in 2013.

Cat 4 Woman of the Year: For a good portion of the year, I harped on and on about Liz Srejic. My opinion on Cat 4 awards is that they shouldn’t go to people who dominated throughout the full season (January-October). If you really dominate the Cat 4s in the winter, you should be able to upgrade by the summer. Srejic started in the middle of the year and blossomed as a bike racer in the Summer, taking wins at the Flagstaff Omnium and Mormon Lake Road Race.

Cat 3 Woman of the Year: Lauren Frisk led a strong El Grupo contingent and raced well at the State Road Race and Gila, but I would be unjust in not picking Emily Mcglamery. She took a consistent 2nd place at TBC and won the State Hill Climb and Road Race championships.

Cat 1-2 Woman of the Year: Sabrina Forbes took the Copper Cup quite handily, despite a shortened year. She led what I saw to be a Valley-resurgence.

Best Team: It’s a toss-up., Trisports, and Landis all had their victories. However, I noticed the team spirit of Landis the most.

Men Cat 4
Best Crit Racer: Audacious and outspoken, Dominic Suozzi showed himself to be a true sprinter this year, taking three decisive victories. Yes, he upgraded by the middle of the season, but there aren’t a lot of crits during the Arizona summer.

Best Time Trialer: I think the State Time Trial champion Daniel Parkman is worthy of this award. He’s legit.

Most Consistent: Chaz Lane enjoyed a consistent finish to 2012, working his way toward an upgrade at Tolero and Best Buddies.

Men Cat 3
Best Crit Racer: To the chagrin of Shawn Mcnally, I give this to Kenny Polley. While I think he should have upgraded in the summer, the fact remains that the AZ crit season ends before then. This was a tricky award to hand out, but I’ll go with Kenny.

Best Time Trialer: I suppose that every year, the Cat 3 field is filled with fast people, but this year it was rather stacked, and Nathaniel Davis was the best of the its contrarrelojistas.

Best Mountain Goat: Nathan Franklin, is similar Davis. He is lethal in the races he enters, but because he doesn’t enter a ton of races, it appears that he is sandbagging. Also, his first name includes the word “Nathan”.

Most Consistent: Ever present, Jake Spelman raced a pizza-load of events in 2012. He dominated neither the hills nor the sprints, but he did not shy away from neither. He took his first category win at DC Ranch.

Best Team: With Brian A, Dave G, Jake S, Dominic S, Lewis F, David C, Peter S, Craig H, and others I do not know, Faster enjoyed a phenomenal year. Granted, they only succeeded at crits and time trials, but they attended more races than most Cat 3 teams.

Men Cat 1/2
Best Crit Racer: Eric Marcotte, if you can believe it, had an even better year than last. To elaborate on how this year went would be superfluous. You all saw what happened.

Best Mountain Goat: When the Landis juggernaut made its mark on the AZ summer calendar, one man stood in their way: Mark Aasmundstad. The weathered northerner held his own when the rode rose and men became judged by the equation of their power divided by their weight. His performances up Snowbowl and Graham were indicative of a brilliant year.

Best Team: Landis rode with dominance in many races. They used their numbers with potency.

Cat 1/2 Rider of the Year: It’s frightening to think that George Cyrus was in his first year as a Cat 1. He took the crown of State Crit and Tme Trial Champion, plus the Team Time Trial. He truly enjoyed a banner year, one that was actually quite overshadowed.

Best Breakaway: Eric Marcotte riding away from the Competitive Cyclist squad at the UofA Crit. Although it’s nearly impossible for him to be considered an underdog, Marcotte was going up against the big dogs that day. Late in the race, he opened up a gap and held it.

The David and Goliath Award: I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t expect Jeff Biever to win the Masters 50-54 State Crit championship. As a field full of Cat 2s gawked at one another, the Cat 4 rode solo to victory.

The Title of “Best Website” goes to They have really impacted the AZ Cycling Scene. In 2013, they will run a near majority of the race schedule. Boris is taking over.

The “Holy Socks!” Award (awarded to the best crash) goes to Danny Eaton for going down at VOS. The massive pileup caused by a rogue car incited a frenzied reaction from the Arizona cycling community.

Most Connected: Jay and Tisha Suarez pulled all the strings to promote Team Winded. Clearly, the team was revelatory in 2012, regardless of results, and the Suarez family was at its center.

The Best Display of Team Tactics goes to Landis’s performance at the State Criterium Championship. They occupied the breakaway with many men and shut down the peloton. Sure, they got a little luck with Craig Streit’s flat, but that’s bike racing.

2012 Best Ambassador of Arizona Cycling
In 2012, many people feared a certain man. Californians, Texans, Okies, and Arizonans grew in reverence for Eric Marcotte. He now holds legend status in two states, and his influence grows. Nothing seems to be slowing him down, so all manner of possibilities remain for him in 2013.

2012 Person of the Year
Clayton Peck further established himself as one of Arizona cycling’s most effervescent personalities. He wins this award not because of his efforts with OTR, but because of his passion for this sport. If you’ve been to a race with him, you know what I’m talking about. He loves our sport and our community and wants to better them. I can’t ask for much more than that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Good News

The phrase "No news is good news" does not always ring true. For a year, I earnestly desired to know the truth behind my hip injury and learned nothing.
I think I got the answer today.
We saw an orthopedic surgeon who would hypothetically do arthroscopic surgery on me. I had come to give him the results of the cortisone recently injected in my hip joint. The results leaned to the positive side, but they weren't the diagnostic factor. He gave me my second X-ray of the year (in the same position) and found something. I have cam impingement in both hips. The picture below shows the femur head attached to the hip socket. There's a deformity.

Because I could clearly see it on the X-ray, I don't doubt it. My condition isn't serious; however, it won't heal on its own, and it can lead to osteoarthritis. The bad news is that I've had a cam impingement for a year. However, the news is incredibly gratifying. Arthroscopic surgery in both hips should heal me. I might get to race in 2013, and the pain might soon be gone.
I thank you for your prayers.

Monday, October 22, 2012


I'll publish the first part of the Bike Boy Awards later this week. Because I am giving them more description than I normally give, they are taking forever to complete. Do forgive me for getting ahead of myself.

As you can see, I've struggled to keep this blog updated. For a lot of reasons, I don't always see the point in blogging. I had a lot of followers when I raced, but now that this blog has been narrowed down to just the life of James, readership has gone down, and with that, my motivation. I am, after all, Bike Boy. Back in the day, I should have been more balanced with the content of this blog. Somewhere along the line, I removed my personal life from this blog to focus completely on bikes. This blog has become limited. In general, I am struggling to self-disclose to the cycling world and the world world for that matter.

I often feel angry, for many reasons, but most often because of my ego. I think I'm growing a mild form of Turrets due to internalizing my angst for so long. I have accepted not being able to actually ride my bike. God took away the burning need to race. I'm free from that pain, and I love the liberation. If I heal, I will ride with the utmost fervor, but I know that I can live without the bike. It's just a bike. My identity is not in being a cyclist; it is in Jesus Christ.

However, I still anguish over cycling. It's all about my status. It kills me to not be known by Arizona cyclists. I become angry when a rider does not know my name. I feel that I am entitled to having a reputation- I am wrong in this assertion, I know, but that doesn't make it easier to let go. I judge people to be apathetic because they do not know of my existence. I've been battling a puffed-up ego for the longest of times, and while my sensitivity to it has increased, the battle has ended not and will not end until my death.

Perhaps there's no point in me telling you this. Perhaps you will read this and think I'm a nutcase, or worse, a diva, but you know what? I don't care.

That's a lie; I do care. I care deeply and obsessively, and such a concern must die. Thanks for reading my attempts to express myself. I feel better now.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Awards are Coming...

Expect the Bike Boy awards to arrive by the end of the week. I will award several respective "rider of the year" titles, many gag awards, and three headliner awards: "Best Ambassador of Arizona Cycling", "Rider of the Year", and "Person of the Year".
Stay tuned.