Monday, September 15, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ready to go

99.99% packed. Just need to toss my tooth brush in by bag tomorrow morning. My bags are super stuffed and it's going to take every trick in the book, and plenty of muscle, to haul 2 slightly over weight bags plus 2 plus sized carry ons half way around the world with out paying. Dosn't help that I have a an airport switch. At least I don't have to go through customs with a short layover. That seems to be where I always have troubble. Must be the machette....

Anyways, I am SOOO ready to get gettin'.


PS- Bummer that it's true:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Packing up my crap. Got lots of it. A full room and a years worth of supplies has to fit into 3 backpacks and a duffle bag. I love a challenge.

Challenges also make me tired, and due to limited space, I need to finish all my coffee and tea before leaving. God forbid it falls into the hands of the unworthy French. Call me greedy and hateful, but no one in this country is either worthy of or capable of consuming my coveted Ethiopian dark roast. Unless they add the norm of 4 spoonfuls of sugar tarnishing its rich black beauty and muddling with it's perfectly pleasant, eye opening, bitter bite. No, this coffee shall be consumed by none other than I.

Boredom is cured in mysterious ways. Packing 3 days in advance, dreaming up reasons to drink another cup of coffee, and finding ways to make the SAT test easier than ever:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Climbed a Mountain Yesterday....

Asside from the fact that I now have tan lines consistant with a spagettie strap tank top on my back thanks to my vision quest pack..... it was totally rad.
No mom, I didn't wear sun screen.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Ring Side Seat

Optimism and positive thinking are usually the best cures for home sickness. Living in the moment, staying busy and searching for the good in one's surroundings typically will pull a person back to a state of semi sustainable happiness. I say semi sustainable because contrary to what the song says, if you're always getting knocked down you won't always get up again. Physics states that what goes up must come down but has no law for what goes down. Typically, after an initial rebound, a fallen object never gets up again. Today that fallen object was me. My spirit lost the last dim ember of love for this sh*t hole of a town. I've never particularly cared much for my adopted French ville. It's dirty, sketchy, and 5000 miles from where I want to be but, my distaste was never particularly justifiable. Today however, my buried anti Aubagneisum was justified as I watched, what had to be, one of the worlds most spectacular and horrific hobo smack downs.

For a small town we have more than our fair share of homeless folks. Actually, I'm not convinced they're all homeless. Many of their cloths change day by day, and dirty as they may be their hair seems to have no trouble adapting to what current fashion dictates. Basically, there are a bunch of gypsies, drunks, nomads, homeless, and in general F***ups running around this town. With nothing to do but ride my bike and ride my bike some more, I've spent months worth of time camped out in the town square observing and mentally documenting the habits of the inhabitants of this slab of concert in the sun. I know that the bald guy sleeps under the air vent behind the post office every week day but never on the weekends. I know that the girl and 2 guys trio lost one of their German shepherds after it bit a police officer. I know that the plants in a particular flower pot will never grow because one of the drunks uses it as his toilet. Not just for urine. And I also knew that 2 of the wanderers had some serious sh*t brewing between them.

Today that sh*t stew boiled over. Drunken fists whirled through the air. Swings found targets and lights darkened. As I and the rest of the shoppers at the Simply Market watched one man repeatedly kick in the face of the other, all I could think was, "I'm getting the f*** out of this sh*t hole. I'm getting the f*** out of this sh*t hole. I'm getting the f*** out of this sh*t hole. ASAP" Part of me wanted to help the man and part of me felt that some sort of karmatic dept was being leveled against a man who had tormented our unhappy little town.

It was so bizarre. Nothing Really seemed to happen. The man who did the kicking walked away, an ambulance came and took the unconscious man away. The crowed dispersed. I paid for my soap and felt sickly consoled by the fact that a man who had once spit on me for denying to give him money, probably wouldn't be spitting again anytime soon. The only thing that seemed to exist after the incident was my overwhelming need to leave this place. Transform it from a reality to a memory. So that's just what I'm going to do.

Optimism eat my shorts. I’m peacin’ out of here,

The Perfect Solution

Currently looking for a new home in the Boulder bubble.

I think I found it....

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Home Sweet Home

That's where I want to be right now; home.

Sorry about disappearing for a while there. I only packed my iTouch in anticipation of some crazy, unorganized travel with out realizing that I couldn’t actually update my blog with it. I can write in the title section but not in the content section. Oh well, I'm guessing everyone will survive just fine.

Aside from the blogging withdrawals, the last few weeks have been memorable. Paris with Ryan and Emily- Absolute blast. Hanging out in the Netherlands with Tejay, Ryan, and Emily- Absolute blast. GP Tell- Worst race of the season by far on the bike but one of my favorites off the bike. The legs were terrible but waking up to see pointy peaks shrouded in clouds every morning and hanging out with a fun group of guys keeps the spirits up even when the form is down. So basically it was a blast.

After all that yada, I spent a week up at the national team house in Belgium trying to kick a nasty cold I picked up mid way through GP Tell and spending way too much time shooing the sh*t with the guys on all the coffee shop rides. Time flies when you're having fun....

And now.... I'm back, home sweet home, in Marseille. And after a full day of train travel, I must say, as I lay here on my 2 inch thick foam pad of a bed: I just want to go home. Like home, home. The kind of home where there is always someone to pick me up from the airport, puppy dogs to play with, friends to hike with, and a girl to snuggle with. The home where I have every inch of the maze of roads with in 100 miles memorized like the back of my way too tan hand and I actually run into people out on the road whom I want to chat with (opposed to the old cycle stalkers around here). I've been playing this euro trip game for quite some time now, and now, faced with a September 100% void of all racing, I'm ready to pack it up and slap on the official Alex Howes seal of completion on this mini odyssey.

Not that anyone has asked but, I'd say I've pretty much done it all over here. Am I satisfied with my season? Hell no. Results wise I plan on sweeping this season under the rug ASAP. However, as far as (and I say this at the risk of sounding like some sort of liberal hippy douche) growing as person, the last 8 months are untouchable. I went 2 days with out food, wove a hammock, read 16 books, broke 7 chains 1 wheel and 1 bike, had 1500 euro worth of crap stolen, swam in the Atlantic and the med, sampled every type of beer at the grocery store (don't worry there are only 12 kinds), climbed the local mountain, busted the tail light of a team car with my break hood, won a trophy, cut my own hair 4 times, bought my first real saw and hammer (which I still need to figure out how I'm getting home...), visited 8 countries, walked the Luvre, laughed myself into shape, actually cracked, learned how to talk with an Irish accent, threw a bag of trash 50m and scored, more or less learned French, finished a coloring book, watched 106 movies and every episode of south park, spent a full week carving a small statue and threw it in the river, got way too good at sewing, and got beat up by an old Irish woman. I'm not saying I've done it all and I'm done here. Hell no, I'm just getting started. But, damnit I'm beat. I'm ready for a break and a burrito and some State side adventures.

I'll keep you posted but I think my butt will be planted on a familiar couch soon,