Sunday, May 4, 2008

River City Shoot Out...


The second race of the season is officially in the books and I gotta tell you the day was absolutely perfect for racing, I am so glad they waited that extra day because yesterday was cold and overcast… who wants to race in that? I finished 6th again which seems to be my spot since that is two races in a row. Whenever I start to think that 6th is not all that good, that it is middle of the pack I stop and realize that it is a top ten finish and that the other five guys that beat me are not your average Huffy riding folks on the street they are guys just like me, guys that ride for the love of it, guys that put in the hours and miles during the week guys that share a similar passion. In that perspective 6th place is actually pretty good, especially when you consider that I am not 20 something anymore, hell there are people who are my age working on their first heart attack, some working on their second heart attack, sitting on the couch eating, drinking and smoking themselves to death… me I’m trying to kill my self on a bike, not a whole lot of different except it leaves a much better looking corpse. I have friends a lot younger then me who won’t even ride with me because they think I will try to kill them, I won’t but you might wish that you were dead since riding works a few different muscle groups then what they are probably used to giving a good work out to.

I guess there is always room for improvement in everything I just got to figure out how to get out of the number 6 slot and by that I mean upwards because 7th place would not be 6th but it also isn't the right direction. 

Got a lot of great pictures... look here to see if your mug is one of the lucky ones.

"To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe."

~Anatole France~

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Sometimes it really is up hill both ways...


Flat it was not, 800 feet of climbing is what it was, 70 it was not, 50 if you were lucky is what it was, sunny it was not, windy and over cast is what it was; one lie always seems to turn into another and another and another. The kick off to the Psycowpath season was today at Maskenthine Lake and other then the fact that I was out on the bike doing what I love to do it sucked; but a crappy day on a bike is better then a good day off of it. Over all the whole experience was great, I thoroughly enjoyed the trip as it got me out of Lincoln, I got to spend time with good friends and I got to leave my sweat on a new and strange soil… what more could you ask for? Remember when your parents or grandparents used to spin the yarns about how they had to walk everywhere and it was always uphill? Well other than the walking part the course seemed to be all uphill, not sure how that is possible one would surmise that what goes up must go down but it just never happened, there were little sections of downwardish hills but nothing compared to the uphill, the course was either bumpy as hell, wet and tacky or tight and twisty; it seemed like every time you started to maybe gain some speed one of the afore mentioned obstacles would get in the way causing a rapid and complete loss of speed. This definitely was a challenging course that probably would have been better suited for later in the season. It did however point out that I need to work harder.

The trip up was good and we got a few funny stories from the whole event (that I may share later), memories that will last a life time… and free shit, you gotta love the free shit.

"Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose."

From The Wonder Years

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Observations from the saddle of my bike...

I have been riding bikes of one kind or another since I was old enough to keep my balance on two wheels. It used to be that my bike meant freedom, freedom to get where I wanted to go when I wanted to go there before I was able  to drive. My first bike was a hand me down no-name orange and yellow, single speed bike with moustache handle bars, it was two sizes too big for me I couldn't even touch the ground without listing severely to one side or another; I think it was the size of the bike that helped me to learn to ride I was scared spitless of falling over if I stopped moving. I eventually moved on to 10-speeds and then on to BMX bikes where I found my niche until the Mountain Bike found its beginnings. Looking back on those BMX type bikes I have owned in my time I can't believe how small they look now but oh what sweet memories those bikes still have in my mind. My first real decent bike was a Mongoose, back when they didn't have more then one, next up was a black red-line, then a Torker and finally on to a GT Pro Performer. I had a love for all things chrome back then and paint was what you got on your bike when you couldn't find a chrome one in stock. After riding bikes for any amount of time you either learn a few things about interacting with the world on a bike or you give it up because of too many close calls.

Riding a bike you learn your surroundings much more then you do zipping by everything in a metal casket on wheels. You almost can't help but notice things you never would in a car, you notice that the road isn't as flat as you once thought it was all those time you drove on it. You realize that there is a HUGE difference between pavement and cement, you learn to appreciate 10 miles for more then just a 5 minute journey by car. You really get to know the difference between 5 mph breezes and 20 mph winds and which one you would rather ride in, you learn to better judge whether or not that cloud just looks like rain or is rain; generally only after getting caught out in one or two down pours though. After riding the same bike for awhile you really do start to form a bond with it, it becomes more then just metal and rubber it becomes a friend, a companion, someone to keep you company when everyone else abandons you and you ride alone. You learn what creaks, pings and noises are normal and which ones are not and whether or not the non-normal ones are major or if you can make it where you are going and back, if you don't you spend a loooooooooonnnnnnnnnngggggg time taking your bike for a walk rather then riding it because it never fails on the way out. One thing I have really started to notice lately is how open spaces are disappearing , places that used to be open fields last year suddenly spring up as apartment or housing developments, this is especially troubling if you have a preference for the dirt over the "road". I guess it is progress and there is money to be made for building the next newest, greatest development but couldn't we tear down the slums and build there rather then just let the inner cities rot while the rich spread further and further from the center? I don't pretend to have all the answers but I think if more of us spent some time biking through our world and really getting to know where we live I think we would not be so quick to pave over it all. Cement is not the answer!



"They took all the trees, and put em in a tree museum
And they charged the people a dollar and a half to see them
No, no, no
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you got 'til it's gone
They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot"

~Counting Crows~

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Photographer who almost wasn't.

Lincoln Statue in front of the Nebraska State Capitol.

Lincoln Station

Lincoln Station

Originally uploaded by RLEVANS
Today was a fairly decent day as far as the weather was concerned so I grabbed my handy, dandy camera and hit the road looking for that next great shot. I have often wondered what it would be like to take pictures for a living rather then as a hobby then I start to think that it might not be as much fun as I think. When you have a hobby it is something you do because you love it, something that takes your mind off of work and something that relaxes you. I think if I ever did it as a job it would take the fun out of it, I would have to take the pictures that other people wanted me to take, be where other people wanted me to be at the time they wanted me to be there, it becomes a responsibility at that point; so I guess for now I am glad that it is just a hobby because I like doing what I want to do when I am taking pictures. I have to admit I wasn't really sure what I was going to take pictures of when I left the house, it is still snowy here and winter still has her gray grips on the world around these parts so that kind of limits what there is to take pictures of everything ends up being white and washed out after awhile, snow here, snow there, everywhere is snow, snow… Spring is a great time to get pictures of the arrival of life again for another year, summer is a great time to get pictures of the dog days of summer, pool side fun, shiny cars and baseball games, fall is a great time to get all of the brilliant colors that mean the end of another year but I am not sure that there are a lot of great things to take pictures of in winter time. That being said if you have a hobby and the urge hits you well then you find something to take pictures of anyway.

I often have thought how great it would have been if I had become interested in photography years ago when I lived in other regions of the country with a few more faces and a few more places. I think how cool it would have been to have taken pictures of the oceans and beaches in California, the mountains in Colorado and Beale Street in Memphis just to name a few places I have been and things I have seen… without camera in tow. Unlike most hobbies my beginnings in photography were not born from a love of pictures, camera’s or a desire to create something artsy; as a matter of fact had it not been for failed marriage and eventual divorced I probably would not have been bitten by the photo bug at all. I came upon photography or it came to me, which ever way you want to look at it as a means of watching and recording my kids on their journey through life, my first camera was a fairly inexpensive Canon Z90W point and shoot 35mm film camera I purchased from Rockbrook camera brand new for less then $80. I probably took hundreds of pictures with that camera and almost all of them were of the kids or from times when I was with the kids, it was a great little camera that took really good pictures for the price, I think the only reason that it was so cheap was that digital cameras had started to come into their own at that time and nobody was really buying film cameras anymore, at least not simple point and shoot cameras. Gradually I started to get more and more interested in photography and started taking pictures of things other then just the kids, family and the trips with them. I eventually upgraded to the Canon Rebel 35mm film camera and then on to the Canon Elan 7E 35mm film camera… both were less then $300 dollars for camera and lens together, again because film cameras even the formerly high end film cameras were not popular selling models like they once had been when film ruled the roost. I still have the Elan camera and to this day it is still one of the most innovative cameras I have owned, it could track where you were looking in the view finder and focus the lens on that portion of the picture… it knew what you were looking at, how cool is that?? Now I am a digital whore and almost never use film anymore, most days you will find me with either my Canon digital Rebel or my take everywhere Sony W55 point and shoot, both of which take very good pictures in my opinion. Digital has many advantages over film, it is instantaneous, you take the picture and immediately see the results, no development time no need to use the entire roll of film before you can get your pictures, you can take thousands of pictures and have the ability to delete the ones you don’t like, you can upload directly to the Internet to store or share. I must say though I have noticed a few drawbacks of digital, I rarely print photos anymore; I have photo albums that I used to meticulously maintain and update every time I got the latest roll of developed film back, now I rarely add to the albums because no one prints digital like they did film it is all virtual now, you upload your pictures to cyberspace and share them with anyone you want but for the most part you just don’t send them off to get printed. I know what you’re saying, you don’t have to send them anywhere you can print them off at home now. Well yes you can but if you have ever seen a digital photo printed at home and compared it to one you get from a QUALITY photo shop they are worlds apart and by a quality photo shop I am talking about a place where the professionals take their digital media to get printed I am not talking about Walmart, Walgreens or their likes, a quality place can create photos from your digital media that will look exactly like your old film pictures used to look. I guess what I need to do is to get back to printing off pictures again, having them digitally available to you over the Internet at anytime and any place is nice but for me there is still something to be said for sitting on the couch holding that leather bound album and sharing the stories behind the pictures with someone. Pictures without the story are just images devoid of a soul, it is the story that gives them life far beyond what paper and chemicals can ever give them. Photo paper might last 100 years but a good memory passed down from generation to generation can last forever.

A photograph is usually looked at - seldom looked into.
~Ansel Adams~

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Where I live...


This is Lincoln Nebraska, for any of you lucky enough to not be familiar with it; this rendition might be a bit more dreary then the city is in person but not by much. An ex-wife brought me here and two kids keep me here, I am still trying to find myself and figure out what life is all about. I know that by the time you reach adulthood they tell you that you are supposed to already know these things and I thought that I did at one time but now I am not sure of much of anything. That is okay though because life is all about the journey and not the destination, in the end there are really only three destinations depending on  your beliefs, upstairs with the big man, downstairs where it's hot but at least there is relief from the humidity or decomposing 6 feet under with worms crawling in and out of you.

I have more questions then answers so if you came here looking for a solution to your problems you are in the wrong place, if by chance you are a little screwed up and looking for meaning in life then welcome and come along for my journey if you like. Lube up your chain, tighten your chin strap, clip in and come along for the ride, I can't promise it will always be fun or interesting but life sometimes isn't.