Sunday, March 29, 2020

Pedal Damn It



Pedal Damn It is my new mantra. In these crazy times where we are all trying to stay safe and riding solo that is what is getting me through this. The woods have always been an escape for me and the mountain bike is what has always transported me to places where I could let go of what ever was bothering me. My love of mountain biking has had many ups and downs. Literally. Moving from the SF Bay Area to the Boston area could not have been more different as far as mountain biking. SF/Marin is the birthplace of mountain biking. When I was out West I got to ride with a lot of the people who pioneered the sport-Joe Breeze, Scot Nicol, Tom Ritchey, Jacquie Phelan. I got to be friends with a bunch of them. I was married on Mt Tam. Mountain biking out west involves riding up a mountain. I know that sounds simple enough but if you ride in New England you rarely are riding a mountain. You are riding in the woods and on rocks and roots. Woods biking or rock biking doesn't have the same ring to it as "Mountain biking" Mountain biking is elegant. It is like surfing or snowboarding. It just sounds cool. 


My initial foray into east coast mountain biking was predictably challenging. A 26" hardtail built to shred fire roads and buff Singletrack is not going to work so great in tight twisty trails with axe head rocks strewn across them. I struggled to say the least. Then I discovered the 29er! Big wheels changed my whole perspective. I could roll over stuff! They made riding in the woods fun! It made dropping down rocks or hopping over downed logs a blast. I swore by that hardtail 29er for years. My friends would tell me I needed full suspension but I would just shake my head and say I don't want to ride a pogo stick or I don't need all that travel...I clearly had never ridden a modern full suspension bike! I find it pretty funny that the thing that finally got me to believe in the potential of full suspension bikes was helping with a high school mountain bike team called the Wild Ones. One ride with the coaches and it became very clear to be able to stay with these kids I would need to get a full suspension bike. 


But honestly I still wasn't sold. It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. My brain certainly could comprehend how much better the bike would be descending but I thought it would be slow climbing and on fast swoopy trails. My good friend Eric at Chainline Cycles has been a huge evangelist for Niner bikes. So when it came time to jump into the world of FS mtn bikes Eric and Niner were the easy choice. I told him I wanted a bike that would be on the cross country side but still fun. He suggested the RKT. I went with the RKT 9 RDO built with a 3-start Shimano XT group. A 120 fork makes a lot of sense where I ride. We joke that the woods around where I ride are the mother of axe head rocks. And it is true. It is a rarity to be riding a trail that does not include bone jarring rocks or roots. I am a bit of a bike snob or diva if you will. My previous 29ers have been custom steel bikes built by one of the best builders in New England. I have always gone with a mix of Shimano XTR/XT and have been on NEXT carbon wheels for about 3 years. I wasn't sure what a stock build like this would be like.


Honestly, I would not change a thing. The XT group is fantastic. The DT wheels have been great. The only thing I changed out where going with Maxxis Forecasters in a 2.3 and using Ergon grips. I will add a dropper post in the near future and have been considering adding a lockout lever for the fork and rear shock. But honestly the build is perfect for the type of riding I do. My first ride on the bike was an eye opener. The one area that blew me away was just how well it handled tight twisty trails at speed. My biggest issue with my hardtail was that my back would kill me after about an hour riding roots. The RKT is literally a rocket when it comes to blasting through rooted turns at speed. I now see why the best cross country racers are on full suspension bikes. I was not only going faster over terrain I have ridden for ten years but it was smoother and wait for it...my back didn't hurt! Why did it take me so long to go full suspension? It has been such fun riding this bike. It is opening up the lines I can ride and making me a much better rider. Another subtle thing I have noticed is I am able to ride skinny planks with confidence. Wood bridges and skinnies are my kryptonite. I literally crash off them all the time. The RKT is so much more stable than my old 29er that I almost don't even think about riding skinnies anymore. I just point and shoot. The bike just tracks so well.

While I bought the bike thinking of racing this summer it is the most fun trail bike I have ever owned.   I keep thinking of rides and races I have done in the past and wished I had ridden or raced them on this bike. Pats Peak and 24 Hours of Great Glen come to mind. This bike would be sick at Great Glen. It climbs so well and just shreds on rocks and downhills. Huge thanks to Eric for setting it up and to Niner for building such a rad bike!




Thursday, March 26, 2020

BroYoga


A friend recently commented on one of my Instagram posts "Bro, tips for starting a home practice newb? Who do I watch? Rodney Yee not cutting it...." One, I love that my friend is reaching out about yoga. Two, I love that he is looking to start a home practice in this lockdown. This global pandemic is horrific. But it is making a lot of us pause and find different ways to take care of ourselves. At home yoga is a great way to do that. Yoga can be intimidating for lots of people. Especially guys. I have been lucky. My wife introduced me to yoga 20 years ago in Danville, CA. It was a gift. At the time I wasn't so sure about it. But we did it as a date. Date yoga I called it. She had learned Bikram Yoga at a studio in SF before we had kids. She loved it. When we moved to Danville Pam discovered a completely different style of yoga. The style was Iyengar and was not heated. I have done both heated and non-heated yoga. I like both. For me it is more about the teacher than the style or the studio. My reluctant beginnings with yoga blossomed into a full on love of it. 


I need physical outlet to be sane. When I was young it was hockey, lacrosse and then martial arts. Once I discovered martial arts it was pretty much all over for team sports. I took a deep dive in my teen years and college years. I got a bit obsessed and honestly it was not healthy. When we moved to SF I took a break and discovered cycling. Yoga in California predictably was a bit on the hippy side. I have always liked hippies. Yoga just made me love them more. In Danville I would say I dabbled in yoga. But it was a nice thing to do as a couple. And it certainly helped me through some tough times. Yoga as I was about to find out can help with all the repetitive stress injuries cycling inflicts on us. Who knew cycling is actually bad for our bodies. Let's be honest it is. How many of us have bad backs, wrist pain, neck pain, hip pain. I love cycling but the position and the movement needs balancing. Yoga is perfect for restoring balance.



So fast forward to me and my family moving home to Boston. My wife once again discovered yoga for us. My wife started doing Pilates as a way to help her chronic neck pain. And the pilates studio also had a yoga studio. It was a fantastic community with some truly gifted teachers. I can't count how many times I dragged my broken body into that studio to heal what cycling had done to me. We have been going to Hyp Studio for 14 years. It is truly a place of healing and worship for the two of us. But back to the original question. How do you start a home practice. It is very simple really. All you need is a mat. Honestly you don't even really need a mat. But a mat is nice. And I like a few props. Maybe a block. A candle. To learn yoga I picked up a few books and videos way back. But now with YouTube it is at your fingertips literally. Yoga with Adriene is a wonderful resource. What I love about her videos is that she breaks it down to the basics. They are great for beginners but also awesome for people who have been practicing for a while. And she has a dog...


The other wonderful part of this lockdown and shelter in place is so many Yoga teachers are posting up online videos or streaming classes. Hyp Studio is having regularly scheduled classes which has been an amazing gift. I have stumbled across a few other cool teachers online as well. So to my friends who are thinking of adding in a home practice I applaud you. Find a space you can make your own. No one needs their kids mocking them as they are doing Supta Baddha Konasana. Although it could be fun to drag the whole family into home yoga. I know my family likes yoga. They are a bit reluctant yogis but you throw a goat or two into the mix and they love it. The beauty of yoga is no one is "good" at it. This will be very hard for my cycling friends to process. Everything we do is competitive. No drop group rides just mean another chance to own your best friends and crush their spirits. With yoga it really is a journey. One day you may feel great, others you may feel like trash. But it is the days when you feel like trash that are the most important ones to roll out that mat.


So here is the deal. I am not a yoga expert. I need yoga regularly or my body hates me. Hit me with your yoga questions. I hope this at least gives you a launch off. Check out the resources I spoke about. Then just show up. One of my favorite teachers has a saying. He likes to break it down to the 4 Ps. Four positions to him are critical in a practice: Pidgeon, Pyramid, Plow and Plank. That sounds like a solid practice. I personally would throw in Downdog, Childs pose and some type of meditation.  Light a candle. Put some crystals out. Good luck and let me know how it goes. Namaste

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Professor


I am a social creature. I am ok with being on my own but need to be connected to my friends. Social media makes it easy to stay connected even in the middle of a Pandemic where responsible people are socially distancing themselves. I have been having these #virtualhappyhours it has been nice. Not as nice as sitting in the Washington Square Tavern after a Ronde packed in with 75 sweaty and dirty bikers. But nice enough. Three of my friends who have a text group have been such a godsend. As a part of the VHH I posed the question of where we first met. It elicited some pretty awesome memories. In each case it revolved around some bad idea ride. Or a Bandit CX ride. Or some Dirtbag gravel event. I had a bit of trouble remembering when and how I met my good friend Greg. Greg is a bit of a man of mystery. In some ways he reminds me of former HUP DS Yash. He oozes style. Has a sick bike collection. And is very mysterious. 


My first memory of when we met revolved around this insane mtb group ride. I remember going into my favorite bagel shop in Needham. My good friend Mike is the owner. Every time I go in we talk about bikes and rides. On this day Mike invited me on a mtb ride. I was a bit wary but got two of my friends to join me. We rolled into a dirt parking lot in Medfield. I saw about 20 guys mingling. And the Corner Cycles Sprinter. I thought..."oh we are fucked" They said it was a casual ride. Said we would slow roll and stay together. Sure. Thing exploded from the gun. Total chaos. As we sort of regrouped and started climbing Utah rolls up behind me and starts screaming in my ear. As I come out of my hypoxic fugue state I hear "We dropped Michele" That snaps me back to reality. What? Michele does not get dropped. Granted she was coming back from some gnarly illness but still. I have never seen Michele get dropped. So I just stop pedaling. Utah and I regroup with Michele. My poor friend Mike is nowhere to be seen. I guess this is how these cats play. The three of us have a fantastic ride. No blood, no foul as they say in the bike game. 


Michele of course after that sees the true potential in our mystery man as says "Chip we need Greg on HUP" I trust my friend in this so go on a social media stalking campaign to lure Greg to the Darkside.  Like all stalking sometimes you find out when you thought you were stalking them they were stalking you. Apparently Greg found NECX twitter before this MTB ride. And he and I became "friends" Twitter is wild man. Anyhoo I invited him and his merry band of misfits aka MPO to the Ronde. He had a bang up time and that began our little dance. As I stated earlier. I am very social. Sort of catlike in some regards but just love to bring different groups together. It drives Rosey nuts when we set the teams for the Ronde. Rosey wants to lock it down and I am like oh let's let this team in. I swear they are soooo cool. In Greg and MPO's case this was 100% the truth. In most other cases I am lying through my teeth. Sorry Rosey.


Greg as I may have mentioned is sort of the Mayor of MPO. His nickname (more on this later) is the Professor. Now I have known him for a bit. And am slowly integrating into MPO culture. It is hard to describe MPO. I will do my best in a moment. But MPO members (insert joke here) have nicknames. How they get these nicknames is a mystery to me. They range from: Juice Box to Crack. Some I can see...that stunningly good looking man above to the right is Rocket. Makes sense to me. I can see him as that feisty raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy or Maurice Richard. But Greg as the Professor? Not feeling it. Unless we are talking the Professor on Gilligan's Island. Cause I could see that. He is very good looking. Smart. And has a certain je ne sais quoi. If I were to give him a nickname it would be The Mayor of MPO.


The next thing that became very clear is Greg is a Trail Wizard. His ability to blaze trail and put together some sick rides was proven when we were invited to one of his classic Bad Idea Rides™The Omloop Blackstone. Greg came up with the idea to do some bandit rides with Classics themes. The Ronde de Rosey came from a similar inception. So we all gather at MPO....Medfield Post Office. Ok let's talk about MPO for a hot minute. MPO is an anti-team that was formed around some kind of Spartan/Welsh thematic with what I can tell is a group of reformed triathletes and some legit mtn bikers. They are an irreverent bunch with some serious chops in the community. That first group ride with them was an eye opener. Ride started mellow and wait for it...blew apart. But we regrouped. And it was so cool seeing so many friends and making new ones. This is what these type of rides are for. You make bonds that just can't be formed otherwise.


Not too long after that Greg became part of HUP. And HUP and MPO began a sort of partnership I haven't experienced since HUP and Cambridge formed a non aggression treaty that would last until that team disbanded. Back to what makes up an Anti-Team. And to explain why so many teams fail. Cambridge was probably the coolest team in the NECX for a while. But teams need sponsors. Sponsors are hard to come by. Bike racers are selfish. There I said it. If one team member gets x all the other team members are going to want x. But the sponsor can't allocate that many of x. And feels happen. And people start infighting...An anti-team can last FOREVER because there are no sponsors. You are your sponsor. The ONLY reason to be on an anti-team is because you like the people on it. And you like riding with them and hanging out with them. HUP's founder once said the best way to tell if you want to be on a team with someone is to get in a van and drive to Putney with them. I am paraphrasing obviously. But the idea is simple. Do you want to spend time in a van with these people? Are they cool? MPO is the coolest of the cool. Seriously. I am just getting to know them and I love them. They are like a weird wolf pack. Part glitter bombs and homoerotic jokes. Part full gas, take no prisoners, ride or die gravel warriors.


The other thing I love about MPO and honestly what made HUP what we are today is their willingness to do the work. So many people and teams talk about community etc and don't do jack. When it comes time to build the race course or tear it down or do trail cleanup no one shows up. MPO shows up. Greg is the reason we have Ice Weasels at Medfield State Hospital. Watching him pitch it to the Medfield Town Council was amazing. His work behind the scenes is next level. And MPO has always showed up and helped build the course and tear it down. I love this ragtag bunch of misfits. I am still figuring out all their nicknames and am slightly afraid of their obsession with smashing themselves to pieces. But I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy getting lost with Crack and Rocket in the middle of winter on some hobo trails in the middle of god knows where. The NECX is better for having teams like MPO and having people like Greg. When this whole dumpster fire of a Pandemic is over the first thing I am doing is riding over to Gregs and having a beer....ok I might hit Rockets on the way over. Greg I am sorry if I show up slightly hammered...





Friday, March 20, 2020

Dirt Church


Dirt Church has always been my house of worship. As long as I can remember the outside has been my salvation. Whether it was just woods, the ocean, mountains or a river. Outside is where I feel ok. We all have our demons and crosses to bear. Cyclists (bikers in my lexicon) are a funny group. We are social creatures but need our solitude. We seem to struggle more than your average civilian for some reason. My circle of friends certainly struggles. Whether we were drawn to cycling and the outdoors as a way to cope with our demons or to find escape from them isn't clear. For me the outside has been integral to my mental health. I am a better person if I have been outside. The woods of late are my altar and my therapist. And as much as I love riding with friends and groups I need to ride solo. Solo soul rides just make me feel alive. 


Dirt Church right now is crowded! This global pandemic and shut down of schools, gyms, spin studios, yoga classes and playgrounds has sent a horde of people into the woods. At first I was like oh this is a nice side effect of this pandemic. I hoped and hope that as people discover the power of the outside they will respect it more. And maybe value it more. As bikers we have always been oddball patrons of the outside. Perhaps as the red-headed step child of the outdoors we have always had to work harder. In lots of parts of the country cyclists aren't really welcome on trails. We have had to fight for access for a long time. Because of that I think we in general are always more respectful of other trail users and the trails themselves. I mean think of how many dog poop bags you see at every trailhead. Can you imagine if cyclists did something like that?


But I am getting off track. I guess my point is it is hard to attend Dirt Church right now. The trails are packed. People are acting like this pandemic is a snow day. At least in my neck of the woods they are. It is hard to socially distance yourself on a Singletrack when swarms of people are walking by. It is great that people are going to the woods and trails to unwind and get a break from all the horrible news and anxiety. Again, we as cyclists have been doing this for years. And as much as it annoys me to see all these people when I am seeking solitude I get it. And as much as I fear them being in such large groups and possibly exposing themselves to a virus I do get why they are doing what they are doing. I am trying to be kind and understanding. When I see a big group I either go on another trail or stop and pull off the trail and ask them to come through. More than one person has responded warmly to this kindness.


It is weird being on a bike out there right now. The drivers seem more aggressive even though there are so many less cars on the road right now. What does that tell us about traffic? It tells us so much of this traffic and congestion is not necessary. We have become some complacent on this success habitrail. We are like rats in a cage. Not to sound like Bodi but it is true. We work 90 hours a week to afford a life we can barely afford and barely enjoy. This generation is more stressed and more unhappy than any before it. And there a myriad of reasons for it. But what Dirt Church can teach us is if you slow down and just take time to be in the woods you can choose kindness over fear. I won't lie I have a lot of fear. This pandemic is no joke. Denying it won't save us. Being smart will. I know we will survive this and come out better people. I am trying every day to find more hope than fear. And to choose love over fear. So many of us have found each other through Dirt Church and the bike. I played a fun game with 3 of my closest friends the other day. We tried to remember where and when we first met. In all three cases it was some crazy bad idea ride. I for one can't wait to be able to do a bad idea ride with my good friends. It will be like that first Ronde de Rosey. And we will end at a dive bar and have the best burger in our lives....be safe my friends.


Sunday, March 15, 2020

Cancel everything


There are not many moments when we as citizens are asked to do something for the betterment of society. We have been lulled the past few decades by this lure of consumerism. I blame "progress" and the internet. This is a pivotal moment. We all need to think about the greater good instead of ourselves. Be safe. Practice social distancing. Bikers are dirt bags in general. We are maybe a rung above college students. I mean it is near impossible to go on a ride without blowing a snot rocket. We share bottles, high fives, hugs, etc. And these are all great. But for the next 2-3 months they could result in someone getting very, very sick. I am following USAC guidelines to the tee. They are in my opinion way ahead of this. 

Last year was indeed the last year of the Ronde de Rosey. But I guarantee if it wasn't we would be canceling the RdR. No way I would host a group ride or event. I am assuming we won't be holding events until sometime in June. Maybe July. And honestly that is best case scenario. I don't understand why people are in denial about this.

I could blame Fox News or Trump but that is too easy. My advice is stay safe. This is an event unlike anything we have seen. Below is USA Cycling's most recent advice. This is evolving daily. Pay attention. Take care of yourself and others but also realize how important it is to not spread this. You may feel fine but be contagious. I have so many people in my life who are immune compromised. I refuse to put their lives at risk because of my selfishness or inattention. We will get through this. And Odin willing we will throw the raddest gravel/SSCX party on wheels the NECX has ever seen. 


Due to the latest data on COVID-19’s spread and the healthcare system’s ability to manage this crisis, USA Cycling is recommending cancellation of all sanctioned events immediately and calling on all race and event directors, clubs, coaches, athletes, and members to postpone or cancel all scheduled races and events immediately. This includes any gatherings such as group rides, in-person group meetings, etc.
We are suspending permits on all events through April 5th.
USA Cycling will continue to monitor and meet with partners to assess the state of this national emergency and its impact on the cycling community.
We are taking measures within our control and asking everyone involved in this sport to protect our community so we can get back to riding and racing with everyone in good health as soon as possible.



Sunday, March 8, 2020

Where the Wild Ones Are



I joined NEHSCA back in September as a leap of faith. Anyone who knows me knows if a friend asks me for help I say yes. It is in my DNA. We always make Conan jokes about what the best life is. But the best life is being there for friends, building community and being a beacon of light in the darkness. That is it my friends. This is not a read through as they say. My reasons for leaping into NEHSCA were numerous. One, they needed my help. Boom that is a no brainer for me. I am like a softer version and less legalese version of Better Call Saul. Two, I honestly love coaching youth sports. I have coached softball, hockey and lacrosse. If I were to be honest lacrosse is my favorite sport. I played as a kid. But coaching is vastly more rewarding.

Coaching isn't just mastery of a certain sport or discipline. The best coaches of a sport are not usually the best players. It is rare for a high level athlete to be a great coach. It can happen. My daughter is currently being coached by one of the best NCAA goalies in recent memory. But that is a rarity. My love of coaching was more about the compete athlete and building a team. The last season I coached we had 5 girls who never played lacrosse. My main goal was just to teach kids to love the game. Not worry about wins or losses but just getting better and being a good teammate. That last season was awesome.

So when I joined NEHSCA as a Board member my first goal was to be really involved. Boots on the ground and all that jazz. I signed up to help out with the Wild Ones. I had some great mentoring early on from some friends. We did a course build out at Secret Squirrel CX. Seeing the NEHSCA kids and coaches raking out a CX course caught my attention. Big time. Then we hosted a night with Jake Wells at Hale. Again, I was so impressed by their attitude and community vibe. Then we had our first team night. Craig and Eric and the coaches were so impressive.

Our first team ride was today. We had about 25 kids and 8 coaches. We had a blast. We rode for about an hour. The kids did fantastic. And the coaches were so awesome. I honestly don't even know how to describe it. When they handed out race plates with all the coaches names and the kids names I was like wow, this is legit.

The future is bright. We have our first race in two months. It is going to be incredible. HUGE thanks to NEHSCA, Eric, Sean and Craig for launching the Wild Ones. Huge shout out to all the kids who are so rad. I am so stoked for this season. See you all out there!

Friday, March 6, 2020

Zank Love


The term "Brother from another Mother" is a highly overused term. In the case of Mike Zanconato and myself it is 100% accurate. I have known him for over a decade and it amazes me that we are basically the same person. Ok he is younger, better looking and a much better cook than I am. But other than that we are like Dopplegangers of each other. That kind of describes my actual brother in a way so again the quote is spot on. He is one of those friends that even if you haven't seen them in forever you don't even miss a beat. You just pick up from where you left off. Like a brother. It is embarrassing to say out loud when we rode together last. I honestly can't remember. Which is sad. But kids, jobs, life it all gets in the way. So when a window opened up for us to ride together I was like "hell yes!" His amazing wife Rebecca joined us. They are the coolest couple. Both are so nice and so great to ride with.


We met out near their neck of the woods and rode a spot I have never ridden before. It reminded me of Adam's Farm a bit but much more interesting. It has been so great being back on the mtn bike and riding with folks. Honestly, it is my favorite social riding right now. Anyone who knows me knows I love weird dirtbag gravel the most. But it isn't really the best for a social ride. The coffee stops are great but when you are on the road you have to be so attentive. And in the woods on a CX bike again, you have to be lazer focused or bad things will happen. On a modern mtn bike you can laugh and smash into stuff and hike a bike a bit and no one cares. I think that is why mtn biking got so popular in the old days. It was just a ton of fun. I honestly feel so lucky to have so many rad friends. But Mike has given me so much. He is the one who got me into single speeding. Yes, I have come to my senses at my old age and have given up the SS MTB for a geared FS bike. I don't honestly know how I ever rode a SS MTB! The fact that Mike and the crew raced 24 Hours of Great Glen on them still boggles my mind. The fact that our lap times were all basically the same even though I was on a geared bike tells you how strong Mike and the Zank Crew are. Those early years racing 24HOGG and SSapalooza really framed up my whole identity as a mtn biker. And made us a wolf pack. 



When we started the SSCX series it was only natural that Zank would be the title sponsor. But how many title sponsors race the series named after them, put up a custom built frame as a raffle prize and make custom trophies for the overall series leaders? I can think of only one other builder who would do that. Not surprising that before Mike the guy who built my bikes was Paul Sadoff of Rock Lobster. Mike and Paul are a lot alike in lots of ways. Build sick purpose built race machines that people LOVE. The amount of Zank SSCX bikes you see in the series now speaks volumes to how much both Mike and his bikes are loved.


The Zank series has brought a whole community together in a way that really is beyond explanation. I mean having been the main #hype person I kind of get how it happened but honestly it has a life of its own. And Zank and the whole crew are really the engine that made it happen. Obviously there is a whole LEGION of racers, promoters and rad people who had a huge hand in its success but it all comes back to Mikey and his amazing bikes and love of all things SSCX. It has been amazing being a small part of this. And seeing so many people gravitate to it fills me with such joy.


And as much as I hate the association Mike has made single speed great again. Not that it wasn't great before but it was a niche of a niche. Now I love being involved in niches. But when you can grow and expand and be welcoming to everyone? That is worth doing. We certainly have ruffled a few feathers over the years but the fact that we are now drawing some of the bigger fields at the races speaks volumes to how inclusive we are and how fun the racing and scene is. People need to have fun and feel part of a group. Especially these days when everything seems so broken and divided. If SSCX brings people together I can rally around that.


Riding with Mike on his local trails was a blast. I crashed more than I have in a while and hike a biked more than I have in a while but it was one of the most fun rides I have been on for sure. We chatted and caught up. Frankly I would rather ride in the woods with a good friend than about anything these days. As we came around a corner I saw a memorial to a good friend and teammate. We lost Jeff Robert three years ago. It still doesn't seem possible. Zank and I sat there for a minute and chatted about Jeff and life. It really was just what I needed. Hold your family and friends close. And I know it is a cliche to say enjoy every minute but try to. This ride was like going to Dirt Church as my friend Gewilli would say. Thanks Mikey for all you do and most of all for being my brother from another mother....