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.