Tuesday, January 27, 2009


The life of most full time messengers is somewhat perilous. The life of most full time messengers is a life where you are the master of your daily choices, yet there is common threads linking each other and the down time is often spent together talking and waiting for work or just glad to be off work. The scene of many assembled for a sort of group therapy is somewhat routine. The routine becomes a problem in the eyes of "upstanding" citizens and a source of action for the police.

I am on this subject because I was wondering about the ultimate benefit of racing bicycles besides the ability to stave off aging phisically thru exercise. There is another benefit besides that of the dipping into the fountain of youth, and that is the benefit of staying out of trouble.

Trouble comes in many forms. The most common for messengers involve fights, disorderly conduct in general, and other infractions which are against the law. The recognition that it will hurt to participate in a race with only four hours of sleep will, or should, result in getting a more standard quantity of rest the night before; and maybe even a couple of nights in a row.

Mainstream racers with a career are somewhat the opposite in that for them it is their way to cut loose a little. The wife is nagging and the kids are wanting to get their demands fulfilled, but this is the career guys way to cut loose a little and take a chance. To live a little and take a risk in the pack. To go run wild some and then get back in the routine hopefully without the order being lost at home. All this breaking away done within legal parameters of course. The cost of the race and fuel is not really a concern.

In summary the career person and the messenger often have two large seperating factors. One is that for the messenger: the race itself does not really pose that much risk compared to the daily life in live traffic weekdays, but keeps the individual from possible negative consequences stemming from late nights. As opposed to the salary rider who is taking a risk leaving the nest and relative safety, to go carouse in a race. Secondly, the delivery person in the summer often gets less pay than other times of the year and spends it out and about, thus it does put a burden on the budget unless he or she is thrifty...soo the prize purse does matter and those pennies are very important to get back. ( I call them dollars but I guess it is a matter of perspective) OK ,..Soo out of trouble or in trouble. Worried about the gas and entry or simply aloof as far as those trivial matters go. Different strokes ..same race. ( PHOTO INFO )

Global Gutz was a time trial race in which every city in the world could hold their own race and the format was provided online...the race was to be as flat as possible and thirteen miles long. There was to be five checkpoints thru or along the course..the best time for each city gets posted and the best time among the worlds cities compared and a winner selected. 2002 there was somewhere only like 680 entries and I won by 45 seconds I believe. Flight money was given to go to Copenhagen and compete in another messenger race : the messenger world championships...another story spins off from there but anyway. the dupont circle scene of messengers is pretty old and couriers do not congregate there anymore bc Dupont Circle neighborhood assoc. cracked down and got the police to put the heat on. I guess most can recognize the furry freak as myself.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

U st criterium

The photo here is of a post race celebration moment. The location was 14th and U st. and the year was 1994. I was working as a messenger and so was my teammate Zach wearing the green shirt. I won the 1,2,3 and mr. Zach Browne got third. Dave Osborne won the field sprint for second. I got away from the breakaway of maybe four riders who either got tired or lost faith in the move. It was a Doug Willier course involving one of his classic u-turn layouts.
I went on later in the year to win the road race stage at Altoona as a cat 3. The next and final stage, the criterium, was where I hoped to move up from second overall to first. I was given the most aggressive jersey. ( the white jersey, red helmet in photo ) Fate had another plan and mother nature provided the rain. On the final lap I was in about seventh spot and we got to the bottom of the hill with a couple of turns to go before the sprint.
Just around the corner there was a crash up ahead. Also looming was a monster telephone pole right on the edge of the curb just before the crash. The option of going around the crash was canceled due to centrifugal force. A quick reaction, to the choice of either piling into the riders on the asphalt or aborting into the curb, took place. The response cleared me of the pole but I was on my ass on the sidewalk. I jumped back onto the bike and finished for tenth, which moved me down to third overall.
This year was like deja vue. In one of the first laps of the Pro-cat 1 race a Harley guy slid out on the plywood grate cover. A Colavita rider and myself piled into him. Me and the guy in red got back in after the cracked rear carbon wheel was changed with a Zipp stand in, and they adjusted his out of place lever. Cant say what happened to the HD rider.
In the last last lap the guy in front of me overcooked the turn. He kept the bike upright but stopped pedaling in order to find his balance. Since I had to wait a few pedal strokes a few others behind me passed around and I placed twentieth. Next year at The International, as I believe it is now called, will be a stage race again thus drawing a much larger Pro field. I believe the twentieth spot will be much harder to obtain in 2009 because of this. Call me Nostradamus.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Isolation and strength

I do not like the bridges being closed. The desire to come into the city is sorta hard to accomplish when they do this. I would like to go to Haines Point in order to ride but it not an option. I assume the bridges will be open again on wednesday so we can see the lovely district and exit before sundown. I hear it can be frightening after dark.

These short, cold, dark days are hard enough and to keep me in Virginia...well that seems extra cruel. One more day and we will have the next president installed and than he will find the walls closing in on him. Granted they will be nice executive walls but the scrutiny and the lack of freedom will certainly be stronger in many ways. I am excited that he was chosen by the people and I hope he bears the weight of our country's problems gracefully and diplomaticly. Let us wish him the best of luck to the benefit of us all. Grant him the strength of a rhino.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Russell , Jay , Zach n myself

We all were messengers. The newspaper photo was of a bunch of messengers circling the inner loop around the fountain. The dude on the right of Al Bone (center) , wearing arm warmers and a messenger bag is Russ. He still has the tattoo (visible on right leg ) but was just another dude then as far as publicity , in fact this might be the first time for him in the paper. I love the shot of me and my comrades in downtown Miami post race. We had a good weekend racing with some top twenty action and some end of season night life. I have soo many pics that will come forward now that I can scan them on the computer. The Russ shot was 96'... I am pretty sure I won that event and we went to Adams Morgan afterwards and the post race party was at the old Madams Organ at 18 th and Fla. . Back when the owner Bill Duggan was human and not a total arrogant bastard like he is now. Messenger races are a crapshoot and who knows...just enter..hope to come out fine..and have fun afterwards. Those r the rules.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Escape From the District

Back in 1992 I was not really getting anywhere as a messenger and so I decided to go to college in South Carolina. Mom n Dad had gone to Beaufort, SC a few years earlier and had successfully made good their escape from the beltway madness. I had graduated from Falls Church high on the five year plan accompanied with multiple summers catching up doing summer school. Fun ...but I was done in 88'. Having arrived in SC coastal I wrote an essay on the subject of going nowhere as a messenger and this was decent enough as far as competency to get me accepted. Apparently USC (the Gamecocks) was not sure, initially, about my acceptance with my stellar second to last class standing in high school. Something like 424th out of 425 in my class. I wonder who beat me for the lantern rouge. I was voted best hair in high school and this might have been for two reasons: 1) the huge parties my brothers and I threw, and 2) the big hair that was the least of concern in those days. It was nice to have been photographed for the yearbook with a hot cheerleader who did earn the spot. Somehow I was also given an award for writer of the month in my senior year when I started to attend and participate much more. I was called up onto the auditorium stage with other scholars for the presentation of my award and a prize of a Rogets Thesaurus. (at the time I did not know they existed) The whole crowd was pretty shocked and there was applause ...fast forward and move down south to the Lowcountry.

There I was in the South and in a university. I was pretty stoked to be moving forward in life theoretically and I jumped into fifteen credit hr. semesters. The area was very nice and scenic but I did not know anybody. I started to hang out at the local bike shop in the little main street town. It is called Lowcountry Bikes and the owner ( John ) is very cool and he put up with me. I am still gratefull. The guys and gals did a weekly, weekend, set of rides and also a Wednesday time trial and thus began my entrance into regimented training. I think I had a Cannondale back when they had the headtube badge with a little house and train tracks -- at least that's the design I recall.

I was going back and forth from USC s satellite campus in Beaufort SC to the district and doing messenger work. I met Zach Browne around those years and Shane Groth also. We did the ten oclock in the park and I think we sorta altered the ride to more of a race around that time which was like a NCVC thing. We, as I recall, sorta made waves with our antics and diobedient ways. It was around the same time that DC Velo was started. As a project, after John Epting left NCVC, due to a spat or sumpin. He was a real good rider with National wins under his belt. Nice guy, too.

When I was in the carolinas hitting the books I was also lucky enough to ride with a good crew that put up with me. There was not much racing there unless you travelled to places like the Hotter then Hell 100( TX ) and a ride that was fast in the NC Pisgah range, The mt. Mitchell climb. One of my riding friends was the state time trial champion ( Pete ) and we would do some fast rides. Eventually, I had to move on and go to the main campus in the fourth semester, since there were only so many credits available at the satellite. My girlfriend and Calculus tutor from Cyprus ( Josephine ) was already up there and I did some 140 mile rides for a semester in order to spend time with her and see Columbia, SC. . The location of my first criterium where I finished but did not place.

Memories of Beaufort last and once on my way down to a pro 1 2 in Miami ( Coconut Grove) I stopped in to the old shop. Me, Kristy Gomes, And Mark Lighty bought some stuff and I got a chance to catch up. Now, in 2009, I want to go there again in order to enter into a race there which I never expected to see. A big Pro 1 2 ( I hope at least cat. ones are allowed) in the town that reared me as a racer. ( to be reared ?..doesnt sound right) It is a twilight event and those can be somewhat unnerving sometimes. The one I did this year ( Iron Hill ) was crazy a little since there were flashes going off in the turns and some corners that were not lit enough. It would be cool to race there in the Lowcountry. ( the spanish moss and sunsets on the water..real nice ) The town is also famous for filmmaking locations to a degree. I believe that all of The Big Chill was done there and scenes from The Prince of Tides ...also shots from Forrest Gump. Old plantations and good seafood abound.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Rock Star on the Ten Oclock

I was reminded a bit ago via a email of a ride on the Ten Oclock which was somewhat memorable. this was a few years ago and as we were rolling along , maybe after the church, I saw someone I did not recognize. He seemed to have a clue though and he did have a fly bike so I took it upon myself to begin giving this stranger some advice on the loop and some of the highlights like Esworthy and turns up ahead...stuff that might be nice to know if on the ride for the first time. Soo after the ride this dude survived, rather well, ...we were talking in the park and I was asking what his situation was ? he said he was touring with his band and he had just come from Harpers Ferry area where he did some show and some good riding. I was like soo where do you keep the titanium ride ?...and he said "oh it gets its own bed on the bus..." I was like ok and by the way what band are you in and he said he was in "The Wallflowers ". I was clueless but a guy listening in was real surprised and excited... Soo turns out he was Michael Ward (lead guitarist) and strong cyclist. We stopped in for some chinese in the Morgan and he offered to put me on the guest list plus one (which means my girl could also get in free..) we went and they played their set and afterward the band came out and we all drank at the bar (minus Jacob Dylan ) and talked while Cheryll Crow played her set. The guitarist -cyclist was real cool and I was giving him props on his playing and how cool it must be to be going to the White House for dinner. He was nice enuff to say to my plebian self that he was also impressed with my cycling and that winning a race for him would be a great accomplishment. Too bad the band is not around no more. I realize the song "one head light " was good but played too much on the air. Cest la vie,..

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Computer illiterate ( almost illiterate in general)

Right now I am somewhat frustrated (bc I am not well endowed .... someones frustrated ?) ha ha but no I am frustrated bc I am not endowed with the ability to figure out these computers w/o the desire or overwhelming need to simply get up and do something I can do..I.E. the blog mystery is still just that..I want to know why it is called a blog and also how do I have blogs I read(too much a lil maybe) on my site soo others can go there from my spot...and also I want to maybe be able to find my site via a search w/o having to scroll down joel Gwads blog to where he was kind enuff to plug in my feeble attempt into the blog universe. I could call my twin brother and ask for help but that would require doing just that. ;) not an option in the current climate(just kidding...constant climate..) It would infer an inability of mine and obviously that is not doable...just bc he is paid to do computer upkeep and support does not mean he should be...does that make sense..no..ok I might call him.

I just did 91 minutes on the wind trainer with the help of the Ipod and Phillip Gilberts epic solo after he spent his teammate who did a fantastic effort to bridge. Het Volk and Ghent was in the turkey day spoils this year and I must confess..I was ecstatic to get a dvd of race footage bc I get tired of fast forwarding through those relentless saab commercials from le Tour. Speaking of which I was priviledged to shake 5 th place dude Christian VanDevelde at the ING jimminy..nice guy. Hope he improves on his top five. But yeah if anyone has suggestions on how to do the blog thing easier and mo better inform me pls. but right now I think there are about three people at best who scope out my site.

January Landscaping

Recently I have been busy with creating mulch beds, removing unwanted Ivy , and proposing spring tree and shrub installations. I am also going to build a shed and demolish the existing one. I am glad to report that I am doing work with the new fledgling company and not delivering pulp for the barristers to garner money from their ultimate threat mail. I wonder if being the bearer of bad news sometimes rubs off some of the bad Kharma onto the messenger... another story.
The fact that I am still doing landscape work (though shed construction is more carpentry) tells me that things do work out even if skeptisism lurks. Have been mired in work and other distractions keeping me from training much but well last year I was certainly worst off and basicly jumped into racing after RFK (did RFK but placed 33rd..and did Pulaski where at lap 19 to go I was cooked.those hardly count)
I have a nice pressure washer that has not been employed this year and I am contemplating tying a cup onto it and a sign that reads will work for fuel.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


We all have choices...face it... deal with it ...,Ignore it..whats best.?
With love there is no choice.?..we love riding .!..soo we are drawn to the pull/...there is no//stop// you might ..try ..you might tell the wife you will kill the jones and you know inside you are lying to yourself .. so maybe the best thing to do is to embrace what you love with the one you love ...and if that is not able to be merged ,.. than decide whice one grasps you more..isolation without fear is one thing and fear of isolation is another..I crave results and i want a signifficant other that can respect that..not a lot to ask ...as men ...as women ...give yourself that option...sacrifice rocks and that is sometimes the make or break difference. Basic Stoic perspective.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


by: Chris Cottrell

Another Crow Poem

It is the rowdy crackle
That is soo arousing
Some joke
Told in the blue
or over a lunch
Of flattened squirrel

Then some grim men pass close
To the mortuary huddle
And crows show how
The hairy eyeball is done
With a jig

Those crows know
We only go so long
Without killing each other

Thats what they find so funny.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Thats right..in the fray..

Thats right..The blogosphere now has one more voice echoeing into the dark pixelated space..aww yeah. Soo what seems like a good start..Well I figger that a plug in for the new sponsor for me is in order and that would be the Bike Rack...They are a DC shop right in NW proper and their stuff is moderate to high end ..not commuter stuff so much but got some for y'all too. But nuff bout that...the shop will be putting some of the needy into a position to get into races with less struggle monetarilly as long as you can justify sponsorship. Wow ..new concept. meaning...fours have to deal with their own entry for now and even threes...We have all been there and I have never met a above cat 2 that got paid entrys to race..but I have been a cat one since 95' as I recall. My point is that it is great there is now another team on the block regardless of its current size so that more dynamics in the field can be seen. Especially in the years to come. This picture is from 94' and it is kinda cool because it gets the look of the fourth place guy tweaking over the mighty shove pushing him off the podium at the CSC cat I race. Some ex Navigator pro rolled off for the solo win and this team of californians executed the sprint with my man Jay Moglia also winding it up for myself. As one can see I am sandwiched somewhat between the two Californians and glad to at least spoil their 2nd and 3rd spots in our town.