August 31st - The Athletic Sprint Omnium

I went back and dug out some photos of the first time Clint put on his Omnium event. I'm not sure what the name was at the time, but I am sure that it was awesome. However, I missed it. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to take a few snaps of the Alpenrose Velodrome and the surrounding, I did just that.

There was one team that was doing some sort of workouts after the racing was over. I noticed that it was the same team this last time when we held the PDW Omnium event and asked Clint about it. He said that they were always practicing for something, but that they never come out to race. I wonder what they are practicing for? 

Things they could be practicing for: 
- a remake of some scenes from the upcoming Cheetah: The Nelson Vails Story
- National Caliber Track Events with Dean Tracy
- to prepare for cyclocross season 
- fitness 

In any case, an empty velodrome is just as good as a full one to take photos. Especially on a bright sunny day with a film camera (and Porta 160). Look for some lines. Watch the parallel hash marks there, one in shadow of the other. Cut a diagonal line with a pole there for that arty feel. And all the while ponder this team out chasing one another mere minutes after the racing has packed up and moved on. 

Then, when you really want to read something about film and its process. Read John Prolly's recent : How Film Made Me A Better Photographer - or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love the Film. It is a much more interesting read than what I just put together here.

However, I did read something — and I'm trying to remember where — that made me think a lot about photography and the different ways that people take photos. Personally, since we are on that subject, I take a lot of photos because I like to, but I also do it because it helps when I try to go back and write something about the subject. This way, years later I can say that the grass in the middle of the velodrome was dry and crisp and needed some water. Or that the OBRA van was lurking up near the cow pasture, keeping a watchful eye on everything. But, what I read was from a photographer who said that he never actually referred to himself as such in the field, he always mentioned that he was a "photojournalist" when asked what he was doing taking pictures. And then he furthered the notion with "people seemed to leave me alone if they thought I was taking pictures for that reason over art" << don't be fooled, I may have put "" around that, but its a bit more of a paraphrasing.

It also might be paraphrasing to say that someone once told me "the only reason that you end up with a lot of pretty good pictures, is because you take a fuckload of pictures." But, again, that might be paraphrasing.

These are the things I think about whenever I find myself in the midst of a "shooting frenzy." Which is also what I might call taking a lot of pictures. 

Disclaimer: I may have mentioned earlier here that a good flyer was a really important step towards getting people to come and enjoy your event. This is true and yet I feel that I have failed in this endeavor. However, I tried, but, damn the amount of information that you need to express with these things. It is incredible. 


Motocross Washougal Style

It is safe to say that I have never really watched any motocross before a couple weeks ago. Possibly I have seen it on TV, but not enough to really pay attention. It wasn't a part of my upbringing aside from passing the Aztalan Motocross course on the way to my Grandparents house in Lake Mills, WI. That's about it right there. Driving past the park, if it happened to be a day when there was some action going on there you might catch a glimpse of a rider temporarily suspended above one of the berms, as if he was always there, just hanging, waiting for you to see him. That was about the extent of it.
 Then, a couple weeks ago Clint Culpepper convinced us that going out to Washougal, Washington to watch the National Championships was what we needed to do with our Saturday. He was not wrong.

Not only is Washougal one of the premiere race venues in the country, but it is damn close to Portland, so it made for the perfect day trip. Throw in the proximity to swimming holes along the Washougal river (I kind of just like typing that word) and you have yourself a full blown summer experience. Add Moi Medina and JK to the mix and things could not be better.

The thing to remember if you are going to venture out to one of these experiences is to take a tour guide with you. With Moi in tow and Clint already there hanging out, we were in more than capable hands. Clint being the one that taught me the phrase "straight is a lifestyle, not a direction" which he picked up from his "biker" parents — and Moi growing up in and around his fathers motorcycle shop — I should not want for a lack of guidance.

Here's what I learned:

1) We need tearaways for our Giro Air Attack Shield helmets. Sure, we don't spend the same amount of time in the air as MX racers (that's what real motocross fans say "mx") do, but it would still be totally awesome during the cyclocross season. Now, how to affix the shield to the helmet? This was, in all actuality one of the fun things for Kristin, Clint's wife, and I tried to see if we could catch a glimpse of — someone removing his tearaway midair.
2) I needed earplugs. You never really believe people when they tell you to bring earplugs. Like, if some older guy, say, you're dad, told you to take earplugs that time you were going to see Nirvana, would you have done it? Probably not. Now I'm deaf in one ear from listening to two-stroke engines rev up that hill.
3) What happens when one of the racers loses control of their bike and it flies into the crowd? Safety third. This occurred to me after the first time that I was pelted in the face by some of the dirt flying off their rear tires. The small child next to me raised his fist in triumph and I thought to myself "seriously, there is only an orange hurricane fence between that loud, heavy machine flying through the air and the small tender bones of this child. And then I raised my own fist in triumph in an attempt to push it from my mind.  
4) The holeshot is much more important here than in cyclocross. With 40 - 50 racers all revving their bikes and then subsequently flying for that first corner it is loud, hectic and awesome to behold. Every bright color of the rainbow sending up a rooster tail of dirt as they fight their way around the first bend. And you thought bike racing was crazy. In the above photo there was a crash just behind the RedBull tent that allowed a few to escape.

Clint's Cliff Note: "Check out their mechanics stamping down the ground behind their rear tires. That's so that they can get better purchase on the start.

5) John Tomac breeds good bike racer. His son Eli did some riding and some winning. Turns out he pretty good at what he does, and I'm sure it has nothing to do with genetics.

So, that was a pretty good learning experience. I've never shot moto photo's before, but it was pretty damn fun. I think I was using some Fuji Neopan 100 and I had no idea how it would turn out. There were clouds, so I tried to use a flash with it. Pretty fucking stoked, all in all. It is way more different than shooting cycling, if you thought they were going fast, we'll you're right, but not all the way right. These dudes we're flying. Full Flickr set here » Washougal MX


Art Talk: Sheryl Chapman

What separates a good bicycle race/ride from a mediocre one? Some may say that it is the event itself. The snacks available on the start line (never) or the camaraderie that exudes from man and woman as they race toward the finish line (almost never). Yet, others still say that the quality of an event comes from the promoters themselves. And while that is mostly true, we all know that it is It is the race flier that holds the key to making a bicycle event awesome.
Think about it, the racing action could be awesome from year to year, but it is going to be the front facing design of the poster that brings the people together. Turns their heads and makes them cry tears of joy at the mere thought of spending $15 - $250 to participate. Just take a look at the upcoming Vancouver Criterium - enticing even without knowing that the course itself is riddled with potholes. But, don't look too forlornly at it, because that's not really the point, this Vancouver Crit is actually really fun and I'm going to do it myself. The point is that you need to draw people in with whatever you can.

The other thing that is happening this weekend in Portland is the 2013 Chris King Gourmet Century. You will notice, as you peruse the fine artwork used to promote this event, that there is a certain amount of flair emanating from each. There has been a distinct style to the posters of the GC for the past couple of years now - or ever since I've been aware of it. Which must be the exact reason why it sells out in a manner of minutes each year.  

Side Note: The Bull that Sheryl designed was my first experience with the Gourmet Century as I had just moved to Portland and this iconic display was everywhere in the city. See all the posters » here.

I had a chance to catch up with Sheryl Chapman, the woman who has designed all of the GC posters - at her Santa Rosa home last month after the Tour of California had wrapped. Now, I'm not going to lie, she has a pretty sweet gig going down there and it shows in the relaxed and creative artwork that she creates.
We used the portrait, with her fantastic dog Rex on the Rapha Survey blog » Tough Cookies. I'm not exactly sure why they chose that title to accompany, but then again, I'm not sure about a lot of things. When we rolled up to Cheryl's house, where her and her husband Scot Nicol live, the light was rolling its way over their walls and through their lush backyard. 

I am always wary when visiting new people in their homes (who isn't? if you are not, you should be) but the welcome that Julie and I received here was more than you could hope for from your own family. Beers turned into dinner and when the daunting task of starting the drive from Santa Rosa to Portland in the middle of the night proved to be too much they convinced us that the spare room was made up just for such occasions.

Looking back through these pages it is not difficult to see that everything tends to be bicycle related when it comes to photos or appeal. But, that needs to change people! Not really, but I was proud of how this portrait turned out and some of the photos that ensued in the process. Really, it was more the light than me, I just point the thing and push the button.

We heard stories of Jacques Anquetil's daughter (or niece) and her hidden restaurant. The shape of enduro racing to come (it's all about the French ladies) and a tidbit here and there about the local wineries and what they were producing. Possibly there was a Burning Man story thrown in there as well. We also got to hear about about the design process that goes into her artwork - though admittedly not enough - and see some of her creations outside of the bike world for clothing company Neve Designs and more than a few of the wine labels produced were sporting her illustrations.

But, here's the thing that happened. After we returned from our adventure I was going through some of my #bidonsnotbottles and recognized the logo on the Levi's Gran Fondo ones. I guess that makes sense, because he's from Santa Rosa and she's from Santa Rosa (and pretty much all the cool people are from Santa Rosa - ahem - Sycips). But, it didn't end there. While looking through her site I came across ROLLO. Now, if you worked at a bike shop through the Bianchi era of Rollo, you will know exactly what I'm talking about. That bobbly little character that came on all those mint green (celeste, I know) city bikes that they were producing at the time. The real question was, where had I seen it before? (See above). From there my mind quickly sprang to the "chick designed" logo that represented everything Sky Yaeger had put together while working with them. That's when it all pretty much made sense and my mind was officially blown.

Wasn't there also a dominatrix one that was on all the single speeds? Could it be?

This is the thing about event posters and fliers that I was getting at (I think). That the good ones have the ability to embed elements of themselves in your conscious and lie in wait for when the moment is right. It is also why Sheryl's print sold out in a few brief minutes.


Outside is [still] Free, the Zine.

We made this little zine back in February. It was a chance to celebrate the outdoors and photography, which together is a good thing.

Actually, Tyler from Pearl Velo got in touch with a couple people, myself, John 'Prolly' Watson, and Brian Vernor to name a few, and asked if we would show some photography at his wonderful shop during the North American Handmade Bicycle Show while it rolled through Denver. Good idea.

Pull the photos - and drawings of Chris McNally - together into a small zine to sell as a sort of defacto guide to the show? Great idea.

Then it came down to a name. The word adventure was kicked around a few times, but I think that was just to get the juices flowing. Then I had a thought — our man from the East, who lives in the West, Mr. Ben Lieberson has been using this hashtag #outsideisfree for bike rides, hikes, his rad dog and just about anything that would take him outdoors. Picking berries for example. Who knows if he invented the phrase, but it was definitely something that we latched on to (thanks Ben).

The theory tested especially well when it comes to the NAHBS show too, because, as it turns out, the outside of the trade show, is free. Meaning, if you go to a town where your friends live, lets take Denver, for example, and want to throw a party at their shop, you should do that, because... well, you get the picture.
The show itself was awesome. Billy took off his shirt. John's lady surprised him with a visit from Austin. We hung up some great prints. Cadence Collection founder Dustin Klein dropped in and set up some sweet art around Pearl Velo. All in all, fun was had.

Now, for the extra fun part. We still have some of these left. Like, say maybe a few of them, so our good friend/gracious host Tyler has been slowly but surely selling them off for us. You should buy one, their cheap. Maybe pick up a Pearl Velo cap while you are at it?

Purchase the Outside is Free Zine » Pearl Velo Web Mercantile

A few photos from Outside is Free below. 

Also, if you're looking to publish your own zine, you should do that. We used this awesome service Newspaper Club from the UK and they delivered on time and everything was awesome. 


Portland Design Works Omnium

It has been a while since I've hung out at a velodrome. Like, maybe a few years now. I have tried to get to Clint's track events for the past two years and both times I have missed the mark. Two separate times I have rolled up to the Alpenrose Velodrome as he and his wife Kristin are loading the last boxes into their car. Both of these times I have been berated for missing the event, once by myself and once by my girlfriend at the time (who is now my wife) for having embarrassed her by letting her show up to an event so late and thereby disgracing her socially. Lessoned learned. 

This year Patrick and I said that we would pitch in where we were needed since we do not race track bikes (or haven't in a while). It was determined that the best spot for us to help out was to announce, mostly due to our vast knowledge of the sport (we brought a handbook to racing track) and our gregarious personalities. Well, not only did we not woo the fans with what little we knew about track racing — I do know what "devil take the hindmost" is all about — but we did little by way of announcing too. The Master, as he is known in certain circles, Luciano, stepped up to the mic and damn if that thing was to be wrested from his iron grip. So, we just sort of sat back, interjected where we saw fit, which was pretty much no where, and enjoyed the racing action.

Clint Culpepper has been doing a pretty good job (and by that I mean awesome) over the course of the last couple years with pulling off events like this. At one time it was just one Omnium event, which has now turned into two per summer (the next one is coming up in August). He has taken over the prestigious Tuesday Night PIR event as well, giving that a much needed shot in the arm with a few different events happening over the summer, a leaders jersey and just an overall makeover. But, that is another story.

The races themselves went off without a hitch, which is to say that they went well and no one crashed. But they did open my eyes to a few things that happen out at Alpenrose in no particular order.

- There is a great ladies racing scene out there. Sure, it seemed to be a little dominate by one team, I won't name any names, but all in all they are producing some fiercely competitive women who travel to race all around the country.
- Dean Tracy is a National Champion. 

- The return of Timmy Reinhart to the track. If you don't know who he is, or what he's all about, you should. He's part of a great family of bicycle racers and when he stepped out onto the track (with his Albert Eisentrout track bike for the first event of the PDW Omnium he said, "well, I haven't done this since 2004, so we'll see how this goes." He finished third on the day. Check out the nice piece that his teammate Matt Karre wrote on the Rapha blog » Reinhart Racing.
- No Brakes! Bicycle Track Racing in the United States - I picked up a copy of this years ago somewhere and haven't ever sat down with it. There are some fantastic nuggets of truth in here. And more than one person on the day commented on how they either own it (Steven Beardsley) or have it in their Amazon basket (Dean Tracy).

- The people who work the results are the hardest working people in the bike racing industry. I am quite sure that this goes without saying in most bike races, but holy shit there is a lot to keep track of in terms of points and sprints and teams and etc....etc. etc... These two ladies were the real hero's of the day.

- Portland Design Works rule! Not only were they able to pony up to make the day happen (cash payouts bitches!) but they were on hand to make hotdogs and veggie dogs for everyone there. Yellow mustard only, please. What could be even better than that? Well, a keg of rootbeer, that's what. There is no alcohol allowed at the Alpenrose Dairy Velodrome, so they made the best of it with hand crafted rootbeer. No complaints here.
- Cool Bikes! Like the previously mentioned Eisentrout sure, but also more than a few Bridgestone's (which are a treat to see on the track), Dean Tracy's Ground Up Speed Shop, Russ Denny a few cool Bianchi's and more more more...

- People hanging out. As I mentioned, I hadn't been around for the previous iterations of the race, but it was noted more than a few times that it was great to see people showing up for the pure pleasure of watching the racing happen. The Alpenrose Velodrome is hard to pull of for the simple spectating, but everyone appreciates the occasional cheer for their races no matter who they are. We talked before hand about what it would take to make this into a real spectator friendly event. The T-Town races outside of Philly draw a crowd on Friday nights to watch the racing unfold - they can also drink beer while they do it. So, for now we will have to stick with enticing fans with hotdogs and rootbeer and racing action.

- The photos of Brenton Salo. Wow. Check out his site and check out the Portland Design Works Omnium photos there. They are a fantastic visual representation of the day. It was cool to meet him in person and see him work his magic on the field as well.

All in all, this was a fantastic and well organized event. Keep an eye out for more of Clint's races, it is my guess that as he gets the hang of it a bit more (not that this was in any way flawed, just as he starts to expand) he's going to continue to add some creativity to the scene. Next up:

Sunday August 11th - Summer Classic presented by The Athletic.

Wait, what?


NAHBS: A Look Back and Forward.

NAHBS 2012 starring Jen Abercrombie

It certainly is if you're with all these cats. Hot-tubs (who here remembers the Hottub Club, someone must?) bourbon, karaoke, probably some other illicit drugs, anything can happen. Anyway, I've officially saved all of the photos from last years NAHBS until the night before the big dance. That way everyone can see what really went down. It wasn't that exciting... or was it? Don't you hate when people speak like that? It's like saying, or typing the words "I'm not supposed to be telling you this." It just sounds annoying and like you're trying to ponce up something that deserves no ponce.


Who's going to buy a new bike?
-Prolly usually fills this void quite quickly so that we all don't have to. But we should.
- Jen's Cx bike will be on display somewhere? (I'm just hoping with this one.)
- Can you be from Portland and buy a bike from someplace else and not piss everyone off?
- Can you buy a bike from Portland and piss everyone off?
(Ps - I'm buying a new Fuji Roadmaster)
(pps - that's a lie)

Will there finally be some cute girls at a bike show?
- things have been getting better and better with every year. Last year being the best (see above) but with Austin giving it a run for its money based solely on proximity.
- I already know of a few cute girls that will be here.
- John Prolly and Brian Vernor are throwing a party which pretty much sends it over the top.

What is going to be the show stopper of the year?
- Everyone is already talking about Breadwinner & Argonaut. Portland takeover part 2?
- There is no denying that Alchemy has a new and exciting crew behind them.
- Mosaic. Mosaic. Love these guys. If there ever was a Portland takeover there is going to be a Colorado revolution. Also, I have the tiniest of shop visits with them that I keep meaning to revisit. They shred bikes as well as make them. (Actually everyone mentioned in this section does just that.)

Can the Chris King crew step up their game any more? 
- Color headset cap's on a leather lanyard for builders to utilize. NBD.
- The FREEDOM PARTY. Shit got real this year.
- Coverage of local builders who use their stuff.. Chris King Buzz on Argonaut.
-The Tanner Bike and then some really awesome looking Cielos.

Will this be the year that everyone throws a party outside the show? 
- Can you believe we aren't paying for this shit?
- Which one will make his head explode?
- Who's getting punched in the face?

We teamed up with Pearl Velo. Remember Tyler? That awesome shop? Well, they have opened their doors and made some space to hang photos and artwork and all kinds of fun stuff. I've got some things in it. Prolly does and so does Vernor and Dustin Klein (from Cadence Clothing). Also Bo Bickerstaff who took some photos of ex-con's and their bikes too. It is going to be an extravaganza to say the least.

Brian Vernor made a book with Argonaut. Part catalog, part long ride coverage. Very excited about seeing this. Love his work and I love that Argonaut is putting it out there and mixing it up a bit but still sticking to a traditional format. People love to take things away from these shows and just knowing that I need to get one of these sets me up for a nice scavenger hunt on the weekend.

Whew, and that is just the start of it all. However, it turns out that is all we have time for (see what I did there) The other one to check out (with your exhibitor badge or media pass) is the Alchemy hosted live presentation of Smoked Out - Richard Sach's longform online interview piece. I'm sad to be missing this one due to the Outside Is Free-ness going on as this is going to be fantastic and with some fantastic hosts.


Best of 2012 - Rads

I'm hesitant while going through my "Rads" for a couple of reasons. One, because I'm hesitant of the word "Rads" itself. I just read through Steven Nereo's The Ditch List and felt like the stating of the word "Rad" was on there in a sort of rhetorical fashion. So, maybe rad is out. The second is because all of the Rad places that I went, saw or felt were covered in the last bit there. Ok, maybe that isn't entirely true... But there were things, great and not so great that I was fortunate enough to get out and experience and I'm thankful for them all. Plus, they all can't fit in here anyway... so you get just a taste.

RAD 1 - A New Ear (it's a state of mind)

I'm not a big fan of Facebook. I know why and how it exists and that is just fine for me. It is a tool which we use "just to keep in touch with old friends" or more aptly "to creep on my old girlfriends" or possibly even "as a big part of my job these days." Any way you slice it, it just ends up getting weird. I don't particularly like it because I feel like it plays to the sick and sad... I don't want to hear about your surgeries on facebook and I'm sure that you do not want to hear about mine.

But on my blog? That's another story.

I got a new ear this year. What? Well, technically I got a new eardrum, but they make a slice down the backside of your ear, peel it back like an orange skin, dig out all your old eardrum parts and then graft in some of your own cartilage into a new eardrum. Sound gross? Well, it was. Which is why I chose not to speak about it on FB. I don't want to hear about your ear surgery either.

However, I will say that in my active, adult life, it was one of the hardest, most annoying things I've ever done. I had to rely on my friends around me more than I've ever wanted to (sorry guys) and moped around the house for basically a month. At one point I sneezed and blood shot out of my ear. That was gross.

In any case, it was rad because I can hear again. Whispers, loud music (ok, that's still a little tough), maybe just that couple over there in the corner cooing to each other. I can hear all that. It was totally worth it and if I had to go through it again I would not. But still. This one was worth it.

RAD 2 - Basketball 

What's better than a break from the cycling world? A fast break. In the paint. Are we good? Hell no. Ok, well, Murph is good, but the rest of us have to just suffer to try and keep up with him. This has been the best weekly pickup game that anyone could ever ask for. We eat a lot of pringles and drink a lot of beer and that's pretty much what makes this the best. The raddest. Oh and CD gets frustrated quite easily, but you didn't hear that from me. 

Also, it is a chance for me to wear all these sweet industry t-shirts that I have acquired over the years. You can see here that I'm representing Los Angeles in this go round.

RAD 3 - ColoRADo
See what I did there? With the word "rad" inside Colorado? Pretty sweet. I was fortunate enough to spend a fair bit of time in Colorado this year and every second of it was close to amazing. There was a little training camp/Rapha Mobile Cycle Club action that happened at one point. These fine gentlemen took us on a little adventure up one of the best dirt roads that I've seen in a while. That could have possibly been because the altitude was pinching my lungs into a small prune like thing that was impairing my vision. But, it also could have been because it was just that sweet.

Sunshine. Dirt roads. Cool people. Hard bike rides. Hoola hoops. Lots and lots of hoola hoops and surprisingly, or not, Ryan can hoola-hoop really well. The best part is, I took this photo (of the hips hoola-hooping on the hillside) set the camera on top of the ice machine that I was standing next to and then got on my bike and started riding down the mountain. About three or five minutes into the descent I touched my back pockets to make sure that everything was there - my heart froze in terror as I pictured the camera in its spot on top of the ice chest. I slammed on my brakes - making sure not to crash out Ben - who was behind me. And preceded to climb back up to retrieve it. Disaster averted.

Thanks to everyone there for making Colorado awesome.  I hope to visit again and again and again. Oh wait, I will be visiting again soon - for the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Denver next month. So, Colorado - see you soon.

RAD4 - Los Angeles 

I think what makes Portland so awesome is the ability to leave quite often. If you follow people on instagram from the Pacific Northwest you will see that they are constantly traveling. Popping down to California for the weekend to ride Mountain Bikes or over to to Hawaii to visit family. Maybe even down to Mexico once in a while for a much needed break in the sunshine. We are people. We need sunshine.

Thank goodness for the Tour of California. The main reason why this race is so awesome? Aside from all of the other awesome reasons is that it ends in good old Los Angeles. Say what you will about this town, I love it. I think that John Prolly loves it too, but that is just a guess. This is just a sample day for you. Wake up. Head over to Golden Saddle Cyclery - no one seems to be working either - not at the bike shop, they're cranking away over there, everywhere else. Anyway, we did a pancake breakfast the final morning of the TOC. Cranked out a few hundred espresso's and then as the race whizzed by we jumped on our trusty steeds and headed down to the final circuit to catch some of the action. Action is as action does.

Then we went over to the best underwear shop in the world, with the best name, mind you — Panty Raid — and John and I bought stuff for... erm... each other?

Prolly: A Year in 55 Photos - there are more than a few LA photos in here.

RAD5 - Keith Anderson's Shop

I like Keith Anderson. A lot. He's super generous with everything. He's funny and he is an awesome bicycle painter/builder. On the way down to the Tour of California I stopped by to visit him and see his workshop. It was a short stop, maybe 20 minutes at the most, a chance to look over what he's doing and working on (he showed me a super cool pink paint that he was doing for Steelman Bikes). In any case I also covered it over here - Paint Stop: Keith Anderson.

I get to see Keith pretty often, he'll pop into Portland to pick up a batch of frames (for Breadwinner Cycles? What?) and hit me up late in the afternoon. We'll have some beers and maybe watch funny videos on Youtube. Ok, we did that once, but it was hilarious and awesome. He's also one of the people I get excited to see at the NAHBS each year (can you tell I'm excited?)

Also, looking at these photos makes me remember the one bike that I want this year - ROCK LOBSTER. Please, oh please cycling gods, make this happen. The matte black one that Prolly posted about put the lust in my loins.

RAD6 - Portland, Oregon - July 4th 
It is said, over and over again that the summer doesn't really start in Portland until the 4th of July. Well, if that is the case then it is great that we do such a good job of welcoming her each year. Kyle Von Hoetzendorff usually does the welcoming (it's his favorite holiday of the year) but he took a break this time around to let Greg Johnson do the welcoming. And welcome he did.

I think it was because of this fact that Kyle and I went undefeated in backyard games. He was allowed to shift his focus just ever so slightly and that was the needed push to get him over the top. Thanks goes out to Johnson for having such a great space, however, next year can you move a little closer to Portland, it took me most of the day to get over there.

That is about enough Rad for now. The list goes on and on and sometimes it is a bit difficult to cull or at least group them appropriately. However, I've really got nothing to complain about. 2012 is going to be a tough one to top, no matter how hard we try. I think, however, that if we keep our whits about us, we should be alright.