Archive for August, 2013

Magic!

DSC_8096

 

First day of the show done and dusted.    Some random images over on my photo site.

Things went miraculously well.  The jerseys arrived.  The steel for the picture racks arrived.  WE arrived, (as the doors were opening for the show).  Set up went relatively quickly despite having no particular method to the madness, and a display emerged!  Quite a nice display in the end.  It was good to have a warm up day.  Today I know what little bits of information were missing, what things can be written down to save people from asking, etc.

Remember to bring cash money for jerseys (they’re beautiful!  Thanks IBEX!).  $125.  (limited quantity of Women’s Shak jackets for $175).

There are some really beautiful things to see at the show folks!  Well worth the trip out.  This is my first time actually exhibiting at one of these things.  Kind of strange to wait until I’m retired..  But, hey!  I got around to it.

Remember to go and bid on the Assless and the UTA.  Those auctions will END on wednesday the 4th of september at 2pm eastern time.  High bidding is currently at $5000 for the UTA and $1000 for the Assless.  Help me make a little money for hospice, gang!  Spread the word.   Tell your friends.  Both bikes are on display today at the show for anyone who’d like to kick the tires.

Remember also that a portion of show proceeds go to the charity of my choice, a very generous gesture from the show organizers, so don’t feel bad about the gate fee!!

See you there.

Big Love,

E.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morning of

Up early.   Much to do still.

Everything that is supposed to be falling into place seems at least to be falling!

Todd showed up yesterday at around noon and began working away on bikes.  I saved him the lion’s share of work that I knew was up his alley and saved myself for the woodworking and phone calling and decision making.  Todd tensioned and trued several sets of wheels, finished rebuilding the Assless..  finished rebuilding the Hardass.  And as I write this at 6 AM, I think I hear him downstairs working on the UTA.  He is indefatigable.    Without his help this clearly would not have happened.

I spent the day in the shop making picture frames.  Yup.  Hopefully when you see the display it will all seem worth it.  Arriving on various delivery trucks this morning, we should have….  Both the steel rod that finishes the picture frames, AND the very exciting all new and never before seen FAST BOY CYCLES wool IBEX jerseys!  Ibex is a Vermont based company that has their wool grown and woven in New Zealand (where the sheep are), and then sew all their garments here in the U.S.  In my home state of Vermont, no less.  For a long time the idea of having a little FBC merch has seemed like a pretty cool idea.  I didn’t really want to grab any old sweat shop sewn t-shirt, though, and emblazon my name across it.  I have always encouraged customers to use parts that are made here in the U.S. wherever it’s possible and makes sense.  The last time that I was in Vermont, IBEX popped to mind, and I made a few phone calls.  I didn’t want to say anything, because things were truly down to the wire (I have still not actually seen one!!) BUT the tracking number indicates that I should see them today by 10:30 AM..  (it also has them scanned in memphis TN, which is NOT between Vermont and here, but we’ll cross our fingers).    The metal, on the other hand, is on the UPS truck and out for delivery.  As long as Bobby is working today, that shouldn’t be too hard to track down!

There are some odds and ends to take care of still.  Some things that will have to happen by the seat of the pants.  More photos to print.  BUT, I think that more or less by noon we should be ready to pack up and head over to the venue and build a display!  Very exciting.

Now.  To this issue of these two auctions.  This has been a subject of a fair amount of deliberation and for some in the discussion a bit of anxiety about how to make the whole thing legally binding and how to avoid trolls and all the rest.  (A set of concerns, frankly, that took me by surprise a bit).

I will NOT be using a service to run the auction.  For me this is personal.  I want to know who you are!  You will bid either in person at the show, with an old fashioned slip of paper (which I would like you to duplicate in an email!), OR by email alone, to me.   To keep things quite simple, your subject line should say either UTA bid, or Assless bid.  For me to take your bid seriously, you will need to include your actual name, address, and a phone number where you can be reached.  You must also include a short note telling me that you are not a computer..  If I feel as though you are yanking my chain with your bid..  if it seems too outrageously high to be possible, for instance, I will be calling you on the phone to discuss your seriousness.

As I verify the bids, I will be updating the high bid on the fast boy cycles website.   The high bid will include the initials (or full name if the bidder desires..   Please indicate in your email whether you’d like to bid publicly or privately) of the bidder.  That way you can be assured when you check in, that it IS your bid.  (If two bids for the same amount come in, naturally I will accept the earlier of the two bids, and notify the second bidder).  Keep in mind that this will be ME doing the managing of this auction.  Not some sort of computer.  You will not be asked to give your credit card info or anything else.  In my experience, this internet place has been pretty civil, in fact.  This auction will run entirely on trust.

I will accept bids for either bike in $100 increments.  This will not be some sort of proxy auction where the winner wins by 12 cents using a sneaky computer program.  And keep in mind these auctions are for a good cause.  ALL of the money will be going to VNSNY home hospice.   If, when you write me to bid, the price has already gone higher, I will let you know.  However!  Bid to win.  If the winning bid does not pan out, the next highest bidder gets the bike!  So your bid will stand.  I will have an email record of all the bids that came in, and when.

 

HERE’S AN IMPORTANT BIT!!!

Both auctions will END at 2:00pm on Wednesday the 4th of September.  Mark your calendar.  Set an alarm.  Whatever.  The highest bid that I have received by then will get the bike.   In the case of the Assless, you will receive the bike the moment you come to my house to pick it up and share a coffee or bourbon with me depending on the time of day!  In the case of the UTA, you may have to wait a while.  As has always been the plan, I will lovingly ride this bike until I am simply no longer able.  The winning bidder, however, will be encouraged to join me on the trails in Westchester and get a turn at least..   I am already riding the bike a little bit like someone else owns it!  Though.. not TOO much like that..    ha…

 

OK.

 

I hope I haven’t left anything out.  This is going to be a very busy day.   Looking forward to seeing you all at the show!

 

Big love,

Fast Boy

 

 

 

 

Going great guns.

We’ve been going great guns all day!

An important little update that we felt we couldn’t ignore, however!

JUST received a few top secret spy photos from our insider on the factory floor at IBEX in white ricer junction VT. and it appears that the first official FAST BOY CYCLES merch is ALIVE..  and the tracking indicates that it will be in my hands in time to bring to the show tomorrow!

 

spy shot 2

 

 

spy shot

 

Fast Boy Cycles wool long sleeve full zip cycling jerseys just in time for fall mountain biking.  I have hesitated a long time to produce any merchandise, mostly because I didn’t want to simply slap my name on some product made over seas.   Pretty pleased to have been able to team up with IBEX to make something special right here in the U.S., and  in my home state of Vermont no less!  Jerseys will be available at the show tomorrow.  Limited numbers.  If anything is left over, it will be made available on line.

We’ll see you there!  And keep in mind that some percentage of the proceeds of the entire show go to VNS home hospice!!  SO bring your friends!

 

Now.  Back to work.

 

Fast Boy out!

 

frantic preparation

 

 

hassieloveforUTA

 

Yesterday afternoon I had a visit from my hopsice nurse, Vanessa, who was back from a two week vacation.  We had a conference call with Dana my doc, to discuss my relative state of anxiety over the last few days.

Over the weekend I changed pain meds.  I made a switch from Fentanyl patches, with dilaudid as needed for breakthrough pain (as well as gababpentin for nerve  pain), to methadone and just methadone.   One drug to rule the three.  Methadone is apparently quite good for nerve pain and will obviate the need for the gabapentin.   This meant having a period of the weekend that I was prepared to do very little of too much importance (ride bikes down steep hills, run heavy machines, etc..) because the incoming and outgoing drugs had to overlap to insure that what we know is a significant amount of pain lingering under that opioid blanket didn’t come out to play!  The switch went fairly well.  I did not end up uncovered.  The pain remained under control the whole time, and only at one point during the weekend did I feel what I recognized as the edges of a narcotic high (while I printed and packaged your photographs and got them ready to send out…  if you end up with the wrong one..  well.)

I DID notice, however, over the next few days, that while the pain remained under control I was feeling a bit listless.  A little overwhelmed.  A little panicked about the shear amount that has to get done in time for the show tomorrow, and yet without the usual gung ho energy to get up and DO something about it.  I think it’s quite possible that the fentanyl/dilaudid combination had some level of palliative anti-anxiety effect that the methadone does not have to the same degree..   Or it’s possible that I just have a mountain of things to do by tomorrow and there are only so many hours in a day!!!  That the switch in medication happened at a time when stress was bound to be running high anyway.

Today.  I need to finish building a couple of big ash and steel racks that I started yesterday for displaying photographs of bikes that I’ve built over the years (the steel for these racks will arrive via UPS tomorrow..  yes.. the day of the show).  I need also to finish printing photographs to HANG from these racks.  It occurred to me that the three bikes I’m showing over the weekend really have VERY little to do with the sort of bikes that I typically built during my career as a bike builder, and that having a way to show people what sort of work I’ve done might be interesting.

I also need to build some sort of ash and apple crate piece meal rack to hold the actual BIKES that I will be showing at this event.  These bikes will be, as I’ve mentioned, the three ASS bikes.

The Assless, which you may remember.  The bike that I built myself when my doctors told me that I was not allowed to ride a bike with a seat..  Many of the parts for which were donated by the amazing companies that make them.  Companies that I had only had relationships with at that point for 9 months or so, new builder that I was, but who were very very supportive when they heard my news!

The Hardass, which I built when I emerged from a second round of surgeries and chemotherapy too beat up to ride any of the bikes that I had in my stable from before.  A bike that would allow me to sit more upright.  I bike that was meant to be ridden more in and out of the saddle, so that I wouldn’t have to spend so much time with a newly reconstructed ass just hunkered down on a bike seat.  I built the hardass frame to accommodate the parts from the Assless.  It was my decision that the Assless shouldn’t simply languish.. nor should it be hung on the wall like some sort of trophy.   So it was transmogrified!  It BECAME the Hardass.  Same parts, different frame, and now with a seat post and saddle.  For the show, the parts will go back to the Assless (put it on the list of things that has to happen between now and tomorrow), and the Hardass will get its very own parts.

And Finally, the Ultimate Tight Ass.  Aka, the U.T.A., which I built when I was diagnosed with stage 4 metatstatic terminal we-got-nothin’-practical-left-for-you cancer, last nov/dec.  The Hardass had led me out into the woods.. it had clearly wanted to ride over stuff and so I followed it.  This turned out to be a slippery slope, and before I knew it I was up in Vermont chasing my brother around woods doing nose wheelies on a fully rigid single speed 26″ mountain bike with only a front brake.  A few days of that and I realized that if I was going to have sustained fun with this mountain biking thing, I’d need a better suited bike.  When I was told that I had 6 months to live, I decided that I could probably clear out the time in my schedule to BUILD IT!  I got the most astonishing donations from the very best parts manufacturers working, to build myself my ULTIMATE bike, the understanding being that when I was no longer able to ride it *cough* I would auction it off for some sort of charity around my whole cancer experience.

 

So!  Those will be the bikes at the show.   I have decided that I will not only be auctioning off the U.T.A., but the Assless as well!  A strange thing to do, perhaps, but it’s a bike that has made its way around the interwebs and gotten a certain amount of attention, and the cause is indeed a good one (VNSNY – home hospice program.  Read about the decision here).  Perhaps there is someone out there who wants to donate some money to a good cause, AND end up with one of the more unique and storied bikes in my collection.    The details of how these auctions will run will be released tomorrow!  This is not going to be conventional.  (would you expect it to be?).  The auctions WILL, however, be accessible to people who are not at the show!  You will be able to participate online.

SO.  Now.  Back to work.  Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid!   Todd Miller is dropping his kids at the school bus in Vermont as we I write this and then is rolling directly to me.  St G is at the ready.  My Sam and Em and Hillary, of course, are a constant source of help and support (despite the mountain of deadlines that they’re all under simultaneously).  And there are countless others who have offered.  You may be called upon!

 

Whoever you are, I hope to see you tomorrow or saturday at the BIKE CULT SHOW!!  Spread the word!

 

 

 

film is not dead

 

horse

 

 

I’ve been getting emails from some of you recently asking how I’m doing (thank you).  I realize it’s been a minute since I wrote anything up here, and the last post was a bit of a handful.

The last week has been good though.  Busy but good.

My hospice doc, Dana, is amazing.  She has given us the kind of access you might expect from a close friend, not a doctor.  And her knowledge of what happens to the body as it succumbs to disease is profound.  The way she examines me,  the questions she asks, have been deeper and more intuitive than anything I’ve encountered throughout the process of dealing with this disease.  It is clear that she understands things that many docs don’t want to deal with.

When she came to check me out, she reassured me that what I was seeing was not, in fact a tumor..  it was a lymph node that was a bit swollen, but not hard and immovable the way it would be if it had a tumor in it. It was being pushed out most likely by tumor tissue growing in my pelvic bowl BEHIND it. So I am not looking AT a tumor, I am looking at something that a growing tumor has pushed into a different place. A semantic distinction maybe, but a comfort nonetheless.

Sadly, I am SEEING the progression of this disease.  With that seeing, I have to admit that I am FEELING the progression as well.  I am still on fire.  I am still on an amazing creative high.  I’m taking tons of photos, and am wildly involved in preparing for next weekend! But my level of pain has gone up a bit.  I have been needing more breakthrough pain meds.  And I haven’t had quite the same level of energy to push through the day that I did a few weeks ago.  (This weekend, in fact, I will be making a switch in baseline medication just to be sure that when the pain gets worse as it is likely to do, I will already be on something that can handle it.  That something being methadone!  Big guns, gang!)

I wake up early.  And I cherish it.  But by 4:30 in the afternoon or so, I wish the clock would stop so that I could put on some headphones, listen to Steve Reich, and let it drop me into a DEEP sleep for a few hours, and then wake up without the TIME having passed, so that I could get up and keep rolling!  Doesn’t work that way sadly.  The clock keeps rolling whether you’re busy or on your back.

In just a week, the hand built bike show will be happening out in Brooklyn.  That’s sort of the next big horizon.  I’m working on a display.  I’ll be showing three bikes.  I’m going to resurrect the Assless..  it will be there!  For you to see in person.  The build that made its way from the Assless to the Hardass will go BACK to where it belongs and the Hardass will get a brand new build, so that it can be at the show as well.   I am considering auctioning off the Assless.

Ok.  Maybe I need to back up.  INTERLUDE

All along the idea has been that the UTA (the Ultimate Tight Ass..   Ass bike #3 in this little series, which of course will ALSO be at the show) would be auctioned off when I am no longer able to ride it, and that the money would go to “cancer.”   It was never clear where exactly that would be.  I had been thinking cancer research in some way.  But as I spoke with people and did a little research, I simply couldn’t land on anything where it felt as though the money would make much difference. It would be a little drop in a bucket by the time it got to the people actually doing the science.

Since my sudden emergency stay in the hospital a few months ago, my thoughts on this whole matter have shifted and clarified. I was introduced at that point to palliative care in general, and hospice care in particular.  For those of you who don’t know what that is.. many don’t, palliative care is a model that focuses first and foremost on the patient’s immediate quality of life.  Now, as a philosophy of care, this seems to me like a bit of a no brainer.  I mean, shouldn’t that be the goal of medicine all the time?  It isn’t, though.  Even illnesses that are acknowledged to be terminal, in all likelihood, tend to be treated aggressively with a focus on extending life. This aggressive treatment often happens in a way that accepts a great deal of pain and suffering on the part of the patient as a necessary cost for a potentially “better” outcome.  The goals really are quite different.  Palliative care assumes that, especially if your condition is terminal, the focus should be on staying pain free and energetic for whatever time you have.

Not all doctors take the aggressive route. Nine months ago, when I told my oncologist that we had decided not to pursue further treatment, he said, “Okay  That’s fine.”  He was happy to keep following me and from there on out,  he more or less took his cues from me on prescribing the meds that I needed to stay comfortable.  It was a relief not to be under pressure to do chemo. But in retrospect, I realize that he brought no real expertise to the table in terms of pain or fatigue management. It wasn’t until April that he finally suggested that I might like to talk to a palliative care specialist.

Once I WAS hooked up with palliative care, and ultimately hospice care (end of life palliative care), I realized just how much could have been done for me during those winter months – by bringing that aggressive medical world attitude to pain management.   I have felt far better since starting hospice care than I did all spring.  I am energetic, I am mostly without pain, I sleep well (despite the urge to get up the moment I’m awake so that I can start getting things DONE!), and I do all of this without having to make trips to the doctor or to the pharmacy.  All of my medications, delivered to my door, are covered 100 percent by hospice. There are no copays for the doctor’s home visits and no waiting rooms) and as I’ve mentioned, my doc is available!  In most respects I am feeling the best I’ve felt in the last 5 years!  I owe it entirely to hospice, and this palliative approach to care.

The fact that palliative care is not more visible and better integrated into the mainstream medical system is mysterious and troubling. Why do these two approaches need to be separate?  Why shouldn’t a palliative care team be involved from day one?  When you are diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness, it could be routine procedure to meet with a treatment team AND a palliative care team..who work together.. to see if they can beat the disease and at the same time keep you happy and comfortable and productive.   This is stuff that really touches a nerve for me and it gets  right to the heart of the philosophy of care and the education of our docs, NOT TO MENTION the education of the public about what is available to them in terms of treatment models and approaches.

All that to say.  Hospice care, the Home Hospice Program of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York specifically, has done an amazing amount to make what are probably my last months not just bearable, but wonderful!  They are a non-profit organization.  The care that they are giving me is NOT entirely covered by reimbursements from insurance companies.  They end up covering a fair amount themselves, and they survive through the generosity of their donors.

I plan to be one of those donors!  It is important to me that they be able to continue the work that they are doing.  I have also been looking into ways to help advocate for more awareness of what they do.  In an ideal world it would be mainstream —  something that everyone was offered and had access to, and that was fully covered by insurance.  In the mean time, they need the help.

SO.  That’s where the money is going.  The proceeds from the auction for the UTA will go to them.  AND this idea that I’m toying with..of auctioning off the Assless (who on earth would WANT that thing…), would also be done in the interest of raising them a little money.  Perhaps you all would like to weigh in.  Give me your advice.

Now.  Where was I?   END INTERLUDE

 

So that’s the show.  The three Ass bikes will be there.  I feel as though the three bikes tell an interesting version of the story of my last 5 years.  Becoming a bike builder, getting sick, having to ride a bike with no seat,  getting better, getting sick again, changing doctors, starting to ride the hardass, the hardass taking me to the woods!, the dreaming and scheming of the ultimate mountain bike, getting sick AGAIN – this time in the way that you don’t get better from – and deciding to drop what I was doing and go ahead and BUILD that Ultimate mountain bike (Ultimate, the word, suddenly taking on new significance).  And all of this with unwavering support from the bike world – from the very start with the Assless, parts being donated by the companies that make them, simply to show solidarity and support.  And finally this hand built bike show being dedicated to me! and a percentage of those proceeds going to the cause that I choose.  The whole ride has been pretty magic.

 

I have been dallying on putting up a set of photos for sale this week.  I’ve been very excited lately about shooting in general.. but particularly shooting medium format film.  The response that you all have given me to the photos for sale has been a real boost.  This last week has been a busy one, but I will get pictures up in the daily photos any minute now..  I’ve got a bunch from recently developed rolls of film..  there’s just the added step of scanning!

This week, for sale, I’m offering some medium format images of Putney in her three places, Putney Vt, Nova Scotia and Harlem, NYC.

These are images that I chose because I feel that they belong in print.  Medium format film really is magic.  Whenever I shoot it and scan, I wonder why I shoot anything else.  And then I remember the speed and convenience.. the size of the equipment.. etc.  BUT.  I intend to be shooting a lot more film in the weeks to come, and in the meantime here are three shots from the archives (one never published anywhere before) of one of my favorite muses.

Fewer choices than previous weeks, but more prints available of each.

These prints are also quite a lot bigger than I have been printing.  To really appreciate the detail of these big negatives (or transperancy in the case of the nova scotia shot), you really need to look at them bigger!

Enjoy!

 

Hill’s new bike is here.  I’ll assemble it tonight, and we’ll ride tomorrow.  Life is good!

 

Thank  you all.

OUT!

 

 

If I had a third end..

 

austinevenings

 

I’d be burning it too!

For the third day in a row I was up at 5:00 (4:24 this morning, in fact).

I go to bed excited to get up the next morning, drink coffee, and get going!  Last night, out at dinner, my brother pointed out that I’ve always said, and had a “you can sleep when you’re dead!” type attitude.  These days it’s literal!

As I got out of bed this morning, Hill said “baby, go back to sleep..  sleep is important..  you need it.”  Undoubtedly she’s right.  But I’m like a kid on Christmas morning.  I have beautiful medium format transparencies to scan from when I was up in Vermont.  I have black and white rolls that need to be processed.  I have bikes that need to be prepared for the bike cult hand built show  coming up on labor day weekend (and a display to build!).  I have photos to organize and put up on the photo website for sale for this week.  I have pill flasks to finish.  (I have book-keeping from 2012 that needs to be done..  gag..).  I have dinner to plan tonight for the bike show organizers.  I have blog post to write!   The thing is..  It’s ALL stuff I want to do (except the book keeping).  Christmas!!  There simply aren’t enough hours in the day.  I promised Hill that I would have a nap this afternoon.

I think this is what they call mania.  And I think I love it!

I do my best thinking early in the morning.  I really do love being awake for the sunrise, whether I’m able to see it or not.  Just to be up as it gets light out.

Lately I have been on fire.

 

BREAK.

 

In the interest of the spirit of honesty and frankness that has driven this blog from the start, I have decided to leave the beginning of this post just as it is.  Yesterday I hit the wall.  In a big way.  In the morning while in manic frenzy, I worked a bit on the post,  took Putney for a long walk, developed a roll of film, scanned some photos..  picked out photos for this week’s offering,  and eventually, much later than usual, got to my every other day emptying out ritual, and somehow, by the end of it (I’d been awake already for 8 hours by this point) began to feel super drowsy.  But in an uncomfortable desperate way.  It had been my plan to do the dreaded book-keeping and THEN get out to the shop to work on pill flasks, all before making a trip to the grocery store to get everything I needed to cook for the bike show guys.   But I was sitting there in the bathroom..  my ablution ritual office all set up.. falling asleep at the keyboard as my guts did what they do when assaulted by liters of water.

The night before I had been in a lot of pain. Had needed to take quite a lot of break through medication to get on top of it.  Had woken up at 4:00 or so, partly because of that pain and by 4:24 had decided that I might as well just get up and get to work.

Last Sunday, the day that I did the printing of the panda portrait that I sold last week, and made green chile for the Sunday night dinner crowd (all with the help of my dear friend Miye and Sister Mary), I looked down during my morning shower and noticed something strange.  I noticed that I could, in fact, SEE a tumor.  The point here isn’t to freak anyone out..  allthough.. I’m a little freaked out myself, to be honest..  but, I could see running along the line of my inguinal ligament towards the base of my penis a swollen area that I had NOT noticed before.  Right in that crease that forms as you sit down.  There is a predominant lymph node there, or some sort of node or gland..  but this seemed a little different.  Looking down, I could SEE extra tissue.  “Well, THAT’S, fucking weird.”  I pressed on the thing..  Not painful, but clearly extra tissue.  I had a sudden wave of..  well.  I’m not sure what to call it.

I have been feeling SO good.  I have been on this manic, productive, creative tear.  The hospice team has been doing SUCH a good job of making me feel like myself that I was beginning to wonder whether the whole thing was just some elaborate prank being played on me.  Shit, I was supposed to be dead a month or so ago, and instead I’m out in the woods making bike trails and riding again, and working in the shop, and playing the best pool of my life.

So the way life does it, along came the reminder.  “Oh no, Ezra, we assure you that this is quite real..  and the really ugly part is on its way.  The part where you begin to become deformed.  Where you get the grapefruit sized tumors that you’ve heard of other people carrying around with them..  Let’s see you spin that!  Make THAT beautiful.  You may FEEL great right now, but we promise, this disease IS advancing.”

By the time I had printed photos on Sunday and labeled envelopes and cooked dinner, I was pretty emotionally spent.  All day long this fucking visible tumor had been in the forefront of my mind.  I put food on the table and sneaked away to go upstairs and take a break for a moment.  I had been at work across the kitchen counter from a Sunday night guest that I had just met for the first time, whose mouth was moving a lot, and I got the sense that really interesting things were coming out of it and that I should be listening and responding and I simply didn’t have the focus.  Half way up the stairs to our bedroom I started to sob.

 

Perhaps these last few days of waking up at 5 in the morning are just a reflection of a new even more intense sense of urgency.  I have things to do, damn it!  But I don’t quite have the fuel.  Yesterday I ran out.  I hit the wall.  I finished my morning water rites, barely keeping my eyes open, reported to Hill that I wasn’t feeling terribly well, and I went to bed to take the nap I’d already promised her I would.  Fighting even then to do a little work on the computer first.  I fell asleep hard for a few hours.  Woke up just in time to go do the dinner shopping and get home for the bike show boys.

 

This morning, Hill and I are up early again.  We’re hopping on Metro North and heading up to Westchester to ride mountain bikes.  We’re aiming to make it back to the city by mid day so that Hill can get to an important meeting.  I wrote yesterday to my hospice doc (while still in my water park office), who called me back almost immediately to set up an appointment.  I’ll see her this afternoon.  She’ll have a look at me.  She wants to change the pain protocol.  She feels that a different solution is somewhat inevitable, and doesn’t want to wait until I am in a real crisis state to get it in place.  I feel totally safe and sound in her hands.  She is young and smart and makes herself very available to us.  A friend.

I will do a little work on the train ride up to Westchester to prepare the photos for this week, and I will make them available early afternoon.  It is a “monkey business” set.  A set of photos that I hope captures some of the madcap sense of joyful creative surge that I’ve been feeling.  Old pictures, but ones that were driven by a…  well.  You’ll see.  I hope you like them.

Now.  Off to prepare bikes and bodies to get out in woods and enjoy what looks to be an absolutely perfect day in this part of the world.

 

More mid day.

 

Fast boy OUT.

 

UPDATE

 

Back from our ride.  It was amazing!!  HILL IS AMAZING!  We’re going to have a very fun fall.

Pictures for this week are now up!

 

 

 

 

LATE START!!!

Getting a later start than I had hoped, but Zach and I are headed down to the shop to make a 12 foot run of pill flasks for you maniacs!!

In the mean time, I am offering just one photo this week.  A bunch of you guys requested more copies, so I dug up the negative this morning, re-scanned it, and am offering a new edition, printed a bit bigger!    Check it out here.

 

today

Whirlwind.

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The morning of my last full day in Vermont started with a very quick cup of coffee and a trip out to the woods with my brother and Putney to cut a new little dipsy doodle into the trails that he’s developing behind his house.   I shot a little video for your amusement.  By 10:30 or so we had made a really fun new section of trail.  (no dogs or terminally ill people were seriously hurt in the making of this film).

 

 

I’m back in the city now.  Hill and I packed up my brother’s car yesterday morning and drove back down.  He’ll be following today on the train with Gunnar to spend a few days with me in the shop learning a bit about metal working.  Given the overwhelming response to the pill flasks (has everyone gotten theirs??  How do they feel?), I’ve decided to go ahead and spend a few days making another run.  I appreciate that you’re so into them!  I’ll make 12 feet worth +/- with some help from Zach, and then I’ll move on to the next thing.

Vermont was just amazing.  This time of year is really magic there.  The produce is astonishing right now.  Sweet corn tomatoes and green beans (we bought just that on the way out of town yesterday and ate it in out NYC backyard, just to stretch the VT for one  more evening).

I feel as though I need to back track a little.  The day that I arrived in VT, something happened.  I threw my leg over the UTA and went out for a ride.  The first I’ve been on since breaking my arm back at the end of April.  The thing that I am having trouble getting across is that at the end of April, when I broke my arm, I was quite prepared to never ride mountain bikes again.  I’m very sick after all.  I have weeks to months to live.  Or I did a few months ago, anyway (??!).  I assumed that by the time the arm healed up, I would be far to sick to ride.  SO, when the X-ray tech RE-BROKE my arm a month into healing, I really figured that all bets were off.  Yet..  I hopped on, and Todd and I went out onto Zach’s little trails and had a very very brief little ride.  Just 25 minutes..  Just to see..  And it was fine!!  My arm was fine.  My legs, strangely, were fine.  My lungs even seemed fine.  (A few days later at the top of a climb, while we waited for the others to catch up, Todd, who always knows the right thing to say, said, “hey.. could you please breath a little harder..”).  I won’t lie..  As I was riding, exerting myself for the first time in several months, I could feel that things have moved around.  I can FEEL tumors..  I’m looking back at the last post and I realize that I’ve already written this down, but I’m really just sitting here back in NYC, trying to come to terms with it.  I mean.  This changes everything!  I can ride again!  What’s more, I took Hillary out, and she’s really good!!!  I had expected that she’d be afraid (and she claims that she is) and yet she hops on the bike and off she goes.  The second day she was riding stuff that on the first day she would have completely balked at.  SO.  It seems this fall I’ll need to be working in some time to do some mountain biking with my wife!

I have been trying, over the last month(s) to make sure that I don’t extend my horizon too far.  I am focusing on a week ahead or so.  Planning projects that I know I can complete in just a week.   Putting up photos for sale, for example (I promised photos this week..  I will try!).  And yet..  I’m feeling well.  I don’t feel like someone who’s going to die suddenly.  It’s hard for me NOT to get excited about a slightly more distant horizon.  Hard not to get excited about a beautiful fall full of mountain biking..   another trip up to Vermont, to work on some more trails behind Zach’s house..  Maybe even build another bike or something!!   I’m being seduced by life these days.

The next big thing coming up for me is this Bike Cult show.  I mentioned it briefly before, but there is a hand built bike show coming up in NYC on labor day weekend.  Most of NYC’s own bike builders will be there, as well as a few from Philly and the Boston area.  The organizers have dedicated it to me, which is an unbelievable gesture.  I will be displaying a few bikes at the show.  The Ultimate Tight Ass will be there.  As will the Assless.  With the Hardass nestled in between them…  the missing link.  (Only ASS bikes, you see).  The Hardass already has an owner after I’m gone.  The point of the UTA all along has been to auction it off for a good cause (the cause in question will be the Visiting Nurse Service of New York and their Home Hospice Program), and I will BEGIN the auction at the show.  You will be able to bid online with your phone or some such thing.  That Auction will end when I am no longer able to ride the UTA!  But here’s the news..   I’ve decided that I will also auction off the Assless.   I have no idea who would want the thing, or why!! but I am in the business these days of trying to do what I can to help out, and perhaps some one out there will decide that they want that strange bike!!   I’ll be there at the show.  I hope maybe that I get to see some of you!

I have a lot more to say about this end of life care issue.   But I am running late for a meeting.   And then I’m playing a beautiful long day of pool with Jon Smith.  Getting him all ready for the upcoming world straight pool championships!

More soon!

Pictures of my last day in VT and a beautiful visit to Orchard Hill Breadworks over on my photo site (new photos for sale, the moment I figure out which ones they should be!)

Thank you all for reading.

 

 

 

 

Nothing but good..

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Gang.

I have nothing but good news.
In the last two days I have been on three bike rides.
On wednesday night Todd took me out for the first mountain bike ride I’ve been on since breaking my arm (nearly the first ride of ANY sort since breaking my arm, though I have to admit a couple of trips to fairway on the nose bike in the last few weeks..)
When I broke my arm I swallowed hard and accepted the possibility that by the time my arm was healed up enough to ride the rest of me might be far too sick to.   In the line up of things that I have had to accept with this fucking disease, I have to say that was one of the hardest.

Todd is the best ride shepherd I have ridden with.  He is not competitive.  His goal is for everyone to have a good time.  I knew that I was in good hands.  We left from my brother’s back yard and headed into the trails that my brother and Gunnar have been working on.  I swung my leg over the UTA and is just felt so very right!  Almost as though the bike was built for me!!  My arm felt fine.  Seems to be all healed up.  My BALANCE felt fine..  No sign that the copious amounts of narcotics that I’m on have effected motor skills at all.. My LEGS felt fine, miraculously.  I haven’t done any exersize in the two months since I broke my arm and yet..  there they were!!   It took me about three minutes of riding to feel as though I’d never stopped!  We didn’t do a long ride..  25 minutes or so.  That had been the plan.  I did feel a little winded at the top of one or two steep climbs..  I did feel that things have moved around in my body.  I’ll admit, a creepy feeling.  BUT not pain, happily.  We got back to the house in one piece.

 

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“SO.  How’d he do?”  asked Zach.
“Tenititve for the first two minutes and then Strava hot lap..   He hasn’t lost anything..”
“Well..    That’s pretty fucking irritating..”

I ate a lot that night.  I slept well.
Yesterday morning I went out again, this time with Zach and Gunnar.  Three Caldwell boys on their Fast Boy bikes!!!  Pretty awesome.
Gunnar is a CHAMP.  The kid can really ride!  He’s got excellent balance.  He can stall on a tricky spot, but then hang with it and keep going.  It made me so proud.  Thinking back to our crazy week together in the shop building that bike..   Then seeing him ride it, and seeing him ride it so well!   I WILL get some video.  Stay tuned.

When I got back from that ride, Hill was ready  for a turn..  SO off we went.  I used Todd’s monster cross bike and HIll and I went on a little dirt road ride around the backroads where I grew up.  TOO fun.  Got caught in the rain.. rode some really steep hills.  Hill did great!  She’s only ever ridden a bike in the city..  Flat pavement.  Hill’s (up and down) with loose dirt and washboards are a pretty different story, but she kicked ass…  AND SOMEHOW I managed to keep going too!  I think we probably ended up riding about 20 miles.

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I’m writing this post from the the offices of Caldwell Law.  My cousin Tim is an estate lawyer and has prepared my will.  It is a very strange feeling to be stopping in to write up my will on the way to pre-ride a course that Amy (my sister in law) will be racing on Sunday.  Hill is going to have her first mountain bike ride!  The course is apparently smooth and rolly and fast, so it seemed like a good time to put Hill on the proto TA and let her have a crack at it.

So there you have it.  There’s my update.  I’m feeling GREAT!  I’m riding bikes.  So is Hill.  The food is great because produce at this time of year in Vermont is unbeatable.

 

FINALLY!   I have an exciting announcement.  I’ll have some more to say about this in another post, but at the moment, Hill and Amy are waiting for me to finish up so that we can get to the course and RIDE!!

There is a hand built bike show in NYC coming up in about a month.  The folks organizing it have dedicated it to me, and will be donating a percentage of the proceeds to whatever charity I decide!  The UTA will be on display along with the Assless and the Hardass.  I will BEGIN the auction for the UTA that weekend.  I hope to see you all there!

 

Ok.  Off to ride bikes!!

 

Big love.

 

 

Fast Boy out.