Tuesday, 18 September 2007
Beauty From Ugliness
This sculpture is in the courtyard of a synagogue in Budapest. Each individual leaf bears the name of a Jewish resident of Budapest killed during WWII. There are a LOT of leaves. Way too many. The beauty of the sculpture, the ugliness of its inspiration. The devastation of this period is really hard for me to get to grips with.
On the lighter side, apparently there are some really good Czech wood carvers. This little beauty was featured in a toy store in Prague. Very very cool.
I am still a bit cooked from the last month. All of the travel has put the scar on me, and it's not even over yet - we have an engagement party in CT this weekend. Even though I didn't do Murad or Turkey Day, they seem timed right about perfectly at the end of the season. The challenge now is to keep working out enough to not let my whole base go away or gain a bunch of weight over the next month and a half until I start next year's prep in November. One thing I definitely need to do is get stronger in my upper body and core. Not become Cousin Arnold or any crazy stuff like that, just some general strength.
So now that the whole of my first season is done, I've got to give some props to some of my competitors and teammates. First, Sean Ross stands out as kind of the rider of the year for guys who started recently. He has a nose for the podium, that's for sure. Bryan Vaughn rode well all year. At Tyson's, which was my second race ever, he was riding the 4 race, for which I was a road guard. He is kind of a bigger guy, and rides at the front A LOT, so he stands out. Well anyway he rode at the front like the whole time at the 4 race, and I was thinking "this guy is going to pull over and just start puking any second now" but he never ever did. All year he would do this and still be there at the end - he won the BAR this year, so he must have been there at the end often enough. That plus he puts up a pretty straightforward blog, and he's an old guy (even compared to my dusty ass) so there's hope for me yet.
For teammates, El Ocho has been as good a compatriot as any I could have hoped for this year. He is great to race with on course and really fun to travel with. He also understands being a part of something bigger than himself, and tries to move the chains forward all the time. If he hadn't gotten wiped out and broken his collarbone right when he was really starting to put it together, well I will leave the "if only" business to him. Looking forward to bigger and better things from our collaboration next year. Our elite squad, of whom I knew only one or two until wicked late in the year, turns out to be totally cool. The Marshall Ride was one of the most fun days I had all year, thanks to those guys for letting some of us velocitally challenged guys hang out all day. Plus that long climb confirmed that I don't all the way suck at everything that happens on two wheels.