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.


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