Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Grand ol Adventure Part 1

Howdy everyone and welcome to yet another year spent on the road, on the bike and in the dirt. Still in the month of April and there is so much to tell you all about, the adventures have begun!

            I worked my last weekend on the slopes and come the beginning of April I was busy moving out of the house that I had residence in for the last 4 years. It is amazing how many things I accumulated. All the while I was moving out of my house I was preparing to leave for a 3rd world country to compete in the Pan American Continental Championships for Team USA. It was really hard to fit everything in that last week, reality set in and I had to buckle down. I was prepared to drive the 18 hours out to California alone but a few days before I was surprised by my girlfriend Holly who found a flight back from Sacramento the day I flew out for Guatemala, so I had a great co-pilot for the adventure.

            We departed for California Sunday morning still full from an amazing dinner Saturday night with my family. We drove 9 solid hours, Holly had a great play list created that played all the way to the resort/casino town of Windover, outside of Salt Lake City and the salt flats. Did a bit of room rate haggling, and then took a walk to the Nevada side of town where we did a bit of gambling on the penny slots. Lost 3 dollars total overall but had a good time and enjoyed the walk back to the Utah side, lots of bright lights along the way! Day 2 on the road was a bit more adventurous, visited a few roadside attractions including the Thunder Mountain Indian Monument which was pretty incredible, Mount Rose Ski resort and the Shores of Lake Tahoe. Breakfast, lunch and snacks all provided by momma Buell along the way to help keep me and Holly going strong. Near the end of the day we made it to our final destination, the Pitts residence in Nevada City, CA.

            It was like Christmas morning all over again! Due to the minimum time I had before departing, Graeme nicely built up both of my shiny new Banshee bicycles. Did a bit of a fashion show for everyone while trying on the new kit, had to get the approval from the Holly and Leslie that everything looked good. Team Geronimo’s clothing company, Wrex, did an awesome job, everything was custom made for me and I could feel the difference. I went to bed that night feeling great, Holly had a great time meeting Leslie, Gary and Graeme and we all enjoyed a nice dinner together.

            The Next day was filled with activity! Did a photo shoot in the new team kits with the shiny new Banshee bicycles. Leslie and Holly were the photographers and for almost an hour we fired off pictures from all over the yard, it was really fun. Trailer detail ensued with a stop at the hardware store, old trailer stickers are incredibly hard to get off. The rest of the evening was a blur, to much stuff to get done, bikes had to be torn down and packed, personal bags packed, checked, double and triple checked. With a 4:30am wakeup call that next morning I unfortunately did not receive much sleep as thoughts of all different kinds circled within my mind.

As soon as I went to sleep I awoke to the sound of Angels, my harp alarm clock. I hit the ground running making sure that I got absolutely everything and proceeded to toss all of my equipment in the truck. Holly and I were a bit blurry eyed and sleepy, luckily we had an hours drive to the SAC airport to wake up. Airports, I dislike them very much, even though a lot of excitement is generated within an airport, goodbyes ensue, stress levels go up, people are usually drained and tired and there always seems to be problems with someone’s carry while in security, Mix 1 is not a weapon! It was great to have Holly with me all the way to my gate, it made saying goodbye a lot easier as I waved to her as I walked through the gate. Once on the plane reality again set in, it had begun, we were fully committed and were off on a grand adventure. I took a minute to write in my journal inside the plane, and then sat back and relaxed just as the stewardess told me to do. Landed in Dallas for a short layover where we met up with teammates Joey Schusler, Looch Worl, Shawn Neer and Lars Tribus, before stepping on the plan to Guatemala. Excitement was plentiful, we were all very aware of the surroundings we were about to be immersed to, but there was no way to fully prepare for what was to come.

            Our plan landed later than expected due to a late departure so our times of arrival were all later than expected. This caused for a bit of confusion, there would be lots to come. After clearing customs, which I’m always worried I’m going to be fail due to a loose piece of fruit or something, we made our way outside where there was the Venezuelan team also waiting, more on them later. A large box truck came rambling into sight, a little kid that was handling our huge bags with ease helping us with our luggage; needless to say he earned his tip. I had a banging headache from the flight and the humidity and heat only intensified it. The city was chaotic, busy for 8 o clock at night, there were many American institutions that I recognized like McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Burger King, they were usually the nicest buildings on the block. I sat next to a nice gentleman on airplane who has family in Guatemala, his one piece of advice was to be careful in the city, after noticing all of the officers carrying various large firearms throughout the city I can understand way, it was a very dangerous place and we were staying right in the middle of it all.

        The hotel Conquistador was a very nice hotel situated right in the middle of a chaotic city, lots of security was needed to ensure all sides and entrances of the hotel were covered. The first night there was in true Guatemalan crazy! After finding Glenda, one of the event organizers, she pointed us in the right direction and helped us get our room assignments. Dinner fallowed and after serving myself from the limited amount of food from the buffet that I could have Glenda came out with a silver platter plate specially prepared for me on a silver platter!!! I hauled both of my bikes into the build room, but with less than an hour before lockdown I did not have near enough time to build both of my bikes. An early wakeup call the next morning would be necessary for me to complete my builds. This would be the start of one of the most chaotic days of my life. To be continued... 

Friday, April 16, 2010

And I'm back!!!

Taking a moment to get things going again on the ol blog here. Many adventures have taken place in the last two weeks that I will need a bit of time to get fill you all in. I'm chilling at Sea Otter right now, just had a magnificent sandwich and now I'm using the first bit of down time I've had since I've been back. Things have certainly been crazy the last two weeks, I've never been so busy with so much going on, my head is literally spinning. Luckily things are slowing down logistically and speeding up while on two wheels. Feeling great on the bikes, Team Geronimo is incredible. So far here in Sea Otter we have certainly caught the eyes of lots of people. Cannot wait to rip the Dual Slalom tomorrow, its going to be tons of fun. For the time being here are a few pics from the last few weeks that will hopefully keep you all amused.

Ride on!!!